Alvarado was known for saloons in its early days. In 1884, a business directory listed three different saloons, plus the Alvarado Hotel and the Riverside Hotel each had a bar.
When prohibition came along, it hit the town fairly hard. In 1929, a business directory listed one business as "beverages" and another as "beverages and billiards." The beverages were soft drinks, officially, but there might have been some other beverages available.
Different merchants had different ways to conceal that they were selling alcohol.
From the Oakland Tribune, February 11, 1928, comes this tale:
Alameda County’s first bootleg dog is in jail! He was arrested today in Alvarado, along with his master, John Gomez, by the county raiding squad from the sheriff’s office.
The squad entered Gomez’ soft drink place just as Gomez gave a shrill whistle. In trotted the dog with a basket in its mouth, in which was a pint of brandy for the customer. The dog’s collar was fastened to a wire, which connected the bar with a kennel, by a ring. This was to keep the dog on the wire so as to not escape. A search of the kennel revealed numerous baskets all ready for delivery. The dog stayed in the kennel and brought in a load when Gomez whistled. Gomez has been booked for sale and possession and the dog is held on general principles.