Adam and Alice Cortinez, co-owners of 28 West, have one motto: “Eat, drink, lounge.” The Alhambra residents opened Main Street's newest sports bar in October with business partner Richard Valenzuela, and hope it will become the city’s Cheers, where “everybody knows each other, and they kind of just hang out,” Alice Cortinez said.
We visited 28 West — which replaced the couple’s previous restaurant, Boteco — to talk to Alice Cortinez about what has changed at 28 W. Main Street and why she enjoys owning a business in Alhambra.
What inspired the transition from Boteco to 28 West?
A new partnership was developed that closed the doors to Boteco, and we started a new venture with new owners. We opened a sports bar because we live in Alhambra, and we felt that the San Gabriel Valley did not have a true sports bar that would appeal to our target audience: people 25 to 35 who love sports. We wanted a spot where people could hang out casually, bring friends, watch games, and have drinks and good food.
What are the differences between 28 West and Boteco?
We closed for a few weeks while we totally changed the interior of the restaurant. The place was already beautiful, so it was just a matter of giving it a new look and rebranding it to 28 West. Making it look more like a sports bar. A local artist did all the artwork and painted all the chalkboards. We brought in new furniture.
The menu is also completely new. We have a whole new kitchen staff and the kitchen has been totally re-engineered. We have homemade tacos, empanadas, burgers, sandwiches. Very casual food. The menu is moderately priced, starting as low as $4 and maxing out at $15.
What about new drinks?
The bar has added more beer. We know some people love to have a good Mexican beer on tap, or they just want a regular domestic beer that maybe their dads drink. And because it’s a sports bar, a lot of individuals just want a regular, recognizable beer. We have a total of 28 handles, a true mix of beers: craft, Mexican, and domestic. We also have a lot of bottled beers and a full bar.
Has the change brought in a new type of clientele?
Absolutely. The change has brought a new crowd from surrounding areas. We’ve been able to bring in customers from Pasadena, San Marino, and San Gabriel. And we have a little bit of a younger crowd now, which is nice.
We also have a lot of people who host events here. Professional groups come in for happy hour, and a couple of local businesses come here probably twice a month. Business has definitely improved.
Where do you see 28 West fitting in with Main Street's bars and clubs?
We’re more of a place for the people who don’t want to go to a club. We’re a place for the people who just want to hang out, drink, listen to music, and make it an early night.
It’s a tough town to have a sports bar, because there are bigger venues in Pasadena and people tend to say, “We’re going to go watch sports at Buffalo Wild Wings or Barney’s Beanery.” So historically, Alhambra has not been a place where people say, “Let’s go watch the Super Bowl there.” But we’re going to change that.
Do you enjoy owning a business in Alhambra?
I love it, because I live in Alhambra and I think that living in the same community where you have a business really allows you to personalize it to the needs of the community. I get to know a lot of our customers and I think our business has grown because of that. I believe that the community wants us to succeed. If you show that you care about the community, then the people embrace you back.
28 West is located at 28 W. Main St., Alhambra, Calif., 91801. It is open Sunday through Thursday, 5–11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Happy hour is every day, 5–8 p.m.
Interview was edited and condensed.