I don’t think I’ve had another topic interest readers as much as Suttree’s. I wrote about the pending opening three months ago and that post just keeps on getting the hits. I doubt a day has gone by that someone hasn’t found the blog via Google search or through a link on someone else’s blog or website and I think it’s well over two thousand hits on that post and still rising. So, it’s here already! You don’t have to simply read about it – go there and drink it all in, well, in person!
In the meantime, I’ll give you a little to whet your appetite. An early evening call from Shaft led to a late evening visit to see how it’s all turned out. Pretty awesome is the short answer. It’s a warm, inviting space with lots of wood and the fresh smell of new finishes on the floors and the beautiful bar which was handcrafted by John, who works next door at Morelock’s Music from wood that had to be removed from a portion of the floor.
The crowds have flowed in since the recent opening and they stayed near-full the entire time we lingered. One oddity I noticed was the great seating by the front window – perfect for a larger group – stayed unused. Maybe everyone prefers to closer to the bar and the rest of the crowd. It is a place that encourages conversation with friends new and old. We talked to several people we didn’t know when we entered and saw others seemingly doing the same. Something about the space just makes that an easy natural development.
Anne brought out some delicious food and Matt served up the drinks. The wine selection is very brief – a couple of reds and a couple of whites, but anyone who has spent time with Matt would know he wouldn’t offer it if it wasn’t good. Shaft didn’t take the plunge into the high gravity on this visit, choosing instead to go with one of his summertime favorites: Sierra Nevada Summer Lager. In addition to the craft and high beers on tap, flights of beer are offered for a sampling of the wares.
The food was great, as well. We sampled two different types of pimento cheese – one traditional and one with a spice and liked both. The hummus and crackers, cocoa almonds and pretzel roll with ham, cheese and strawberry jam we all amazing. I really didn’t expect to find such good food. It wasn’t a matter of being good “for bar food,” it was simply very, very good food.
The bar was stocked with two dozen beers on tap and more in a cooler. As much fun as everything else going on was seeing who was behind the bar. I’d hoped to meet the famous Ratchet (AKA Jason) who has a great blog called Ratchet Brews, but, perhaps predictably, he was on a beercation to Asheville’s Beer Week. Another nice guy and a cute girl who acted shy but liked to have her picture made were behind the bar as was Steve Dupree. Is there anything downtown that Steve hasn’t done at some point?
The ever photogenic Anne and Matt agreed to another photo at my hands, this time behind their new bar. I also met Jerry and Millie Shelton who introduced themselves as readers of the blog. They’ve been downtown residents for four years and both walk or ride the Trolley to work. My heroes. Seriously, it was great meeting them. I always appreciate it when people introduce themselves.
There was one unusual character present that night. I missed his name because I was trying to hold at least a modicum of space between my face and his, which he made very difficult. He seemed to think I should know him as a famous local musician. He said he was a drummer and he was certain if Anne would let him play the piano she would hire him. There has to be one in every bar and they always find me. Adds color I suppose. He was determined that I take his picture and since that meant he would have to move just an inch or two further from my face, I agreed.
So, there you go. Warm, inviting, delicious. A neighborhood place. Maybe everybody won’t know your name at first, but I bet they’ll learn it soon enough. Check it out at 409 Gay Street.