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Inside the new Alexander Street hot spot

Two for one

The building at 289 Alexander Street, previously known as The Jungle, has been the Jan Brady of local bars for sometime: unsuccessful in making friends and always in the shadow of more attractive venues. Those of us who remember cautiously making our way through the Jungle's twisted and shady layout drunk and scared, fear no more: our former Jan has finally grown up into a Marcia.

Appropriately named Two89, the newly remodeled venue is beautiful: hardwood floors, a ravishing stone fireplace, and posh seating that makes for perfect hideaways. Upstairs reveals another bar tucked behind gothic-like stakes, available for private parties and the sure-to-be-packed nights. A balcony wraps around the second level and gives a birds-eye view of the stunning floor below --- and perhaps the busty blonde at the bar. Two89 is deliciously seductive.

Co-owners Tim Tompkins and Mark Chiarenza teamed up to create something different on A-Street. Chiarenza explains, "We have an excellent martini and wine selection and want to appeal to a higher clientele on Alexander." Both have experience in the bar industry, and their expertise clearly shows. Chiarenza spent time in Buffalo running a bar in Niagara Falls before he met up with Tompkins to craft this venue in Rochester.

Connections never hurt either: Mayor Robert Duffy is set to appear at the grand opening on Thursday, November 16, starting at 5 p.m. The bar has been open since the end of October and hours run from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Check out Two89 --- and since the white stuff is again falling from the sky, I suspect you'll find sitting by the fire most appealing at happy hour.

In other news, new bars are popping up all over Rochester. Either our drinking habits have reached an all-time peak in preparation for winter's onslaught or a scientific study has now shown alcohol to be a health drink. (I suspect it's a combination of the two.) A new bar will join the East End line-up shortly (more on that in upcoming columns), along with the makeover of Oxford's on Monroe. Word on the street is that the new Oxford's will be complementing the adjacent Lola, losing its rough edges for a more modern and clean look. And while some of you dive bar lovers (and who doesn't love a true dive?) will drown your sorrows with that news, be optimistic about the rebirth. Perhaps this is exactly what Rochester needs --- to get laid with a touch of class, even if the dive is a better lover.

Do you have a tip on the new hot spot for our nightlife columnist? E-mail it to or call 244-3329, x. 25.

More by Noelle d'Estries

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