Dining With Denise Neil

A new bar will fill an old space in Old Town

The Office is open for business.
The Office is open for business. The Wichita Eagle

A new bar is taking over the space in downtown Wichita that The Alibi Room vacated when it closed earlier this month.

The Office Bar & Lounge is starting its “soft opening” today, Sept. 21, and plans are underway for a grand opening in early November.

The bar is owned by Kayla Brungardt and Andrea Paredes, who met while working at Larry Bud’s west side store before it closed. Brungardt was the general manager there, and Paredes did catering.

They were offered the opportunity to take over The Alibi Room and decided to take it.

“All I’ve done since I was 18 is the restaurant and bar business,” said Brungardt, who is 27.

The duo is planning some minor changes.

They won’t sell food but want to offer first-come, first-served snacks for free to customers. Some will be items like chips and salsa and doughnuts from nearby locally owned businesses. The owners do their own baking, too.

They have a “local” focus and plan to introduce a signature cocktail menu made by infusing drinks with fresh-squeezed juices and herbs raised locally.

The Office has no beer on tap yet but eventually will have about four, and owners plan to tap Kansas beers. They also want to put on Final Friday shows by partnering with local artists and will begin offering live music once they get more established. The bar will be open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

The owners are hoping for a downtown, after-work office crowd, and that was probably more of the inspiration for the name “The Office” than any affinity for Scranton, Pa., paper salesmen, Brungardt said.

“She and I just were trying to ramble off names, and for some reason, that just kind of stuck,” she said.