The Gin Mill’s last day in its current South End location is Aug. 26. Just five days later, The Brickyard will open in the same spot.
The name on the front of the bar may be changing, but The Brickyard’s owners hope the neighborhood bar vibe stays almost exactly the same.
“We’re changing the name but we’re not changing the business model, really,” said James Korpela, who previously worked at Flight in Uptown. “It’s almost like, if it’s not broke don’t fix it.”
He’s not joking. If you aren’t paying attention you might not notice anything has changed when The Brickyard opens Aug. 31 at 1411 S. Tryon St. The cheap drinks will stay, as will the games like darts and shuffleboard (though you may see a few newer games, too). You’ll still find live music and local DJs on the small stage, but you may also notice some new TVs. But there’s still no food.
The biggest change will likely come on the rooftop patio, which Korpela wants to make larger.
The upgrades will be ongoing when The Brickyard opens. And Korpela, who spent 11 years in the hospitality industry in Las Vegas, wants to hear your thoughts on the space. He cares a lot about customer service and wants to cater to the people who come to the bar.
“We want a bar for the people,” he said. “We want cheap drinks, everybody to have fun here. … Customer service to a T.”
Have a crazy idea for a birthday party? Or want to guest DJ? Or have some opinions on what games The Brickyard should have? Korpela wants to know. You can shoot the bar an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This space opened up after The Gin Mill announced earlier this year that it was moving next door to the former Amos’ Southend location. That new “Gin Mill on steroids” is undergoing a renovation to transform the old music venue into a bar and restaurant with a kitchen, a rooftop patio and back patio in the former concert hall.
Korpela said he wants to continue the success that The Gin Mill had and work with the other bars on the block to bring more people to the area.
“South End is probably the hottest spot you can get in Charlotte,” Korpela said. “We got really lucky.”
Owning a neighborhood bar runs in the Korpela family. His dad has owned Korp’s Corner in Rome, N.Y., since 1991. Korpela said it has the same, laid-back feel he hopes to create in The Brickyard.
“We want that vibe where you come in — I don’t want to sound like ‘Cheers,’ but — everyone knows your name,” he said. “And it’s just a fun vibe.”
The Brickyard: 1411 S. Tryon St. Instagram.
Photos: Sallie Funderburk