For nearly two years the former Matthews Ale House store front in downtown Matthews has sat vacant. For almost just as long, signs saying Stumptown Station was coming soon have covered the front windows of the space. The signs were there so long that it started to seem like “soon” would never come.

But the wait is almost over.

Stumptown Station plans to open Aug. 25 at 107-A N. Trade Street, near the intersection of Trade and John streets in downtown Matthews. The 1,500 square-foot bar will specialize in drinks made with local craft liquors. Matthew Galimi, one of the three partners behind Stumptown, said they want to feature local distillers like Great Wagon Road, Doc Porter’s and Muddy River.

“Matthews is very big on local, local, local … so we want to use as much local spirits as possible,” Galimi said.

Because the bar won’t serve food, it has to be a private club under N.C. law. (You can bring in outside food, though.) Membership for the 21-and-over club is set at $5 per year, or $30 per year for a VIP membership, which includes a personalized drinking glass and access to special events like distillery tours and bar takeovers. You can apply for membership on Stumptown’s website.

It won’t be a sports bar, but it will have six or eight TVs to show big events or games. And there’ll be a jukebox.

Partners Brandon Mills and Bob Klein, who have worked in bars and restaurants for about 10-15 years each, will be creating the drinks menu. They’re not divulging many details on the menu, but Galimi said you’ll find classics like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and Tom Collins. Stumptown will also have six taps for beer, but they’re not trying to be a beer bar.

“Downtown Matthews has enough beer and wine, and those guys do it great, they really do,” said Galimi, referring to Carolina Beer Temple, Seaboard and Temple Mojo nearby, and even Mac’s Speed Shop down the street, which has 60 taps. “We just want to tap into the liquor side of it. …

“We’re trying to do stuff that no one else around here is really doing.”

The inside of the space is small, with a short bar to the right when you walk in and an upstairs loft area. The partners wanted the space to have a historic feel to fit in with the rest of the downtown Matthews area, including the refurbished antique front doors from 1923.

The upstairs loft area

“We wanted to keep the same look and feel of the historic downtown Matthews even though we’re not in a historic building,” Galimi said. “It was very important for us to keep that same look and be a part of the community. … We understand the history and we want to just add to that value.”

So why has it taken so long for Stumptown to open? Alex Lush, who also owned the Friendly Moose in Stallings, originally bought the space but died in January. It changed hands a couple more times before the current group took over in June.

But the new owners, who all live in Matthews and were friends with Lush, are trying to keep Lush’s vision alive by using the name he chose for the bar, which refers to an old nickname for the town of Matthews.

“We’re trying to follow his legacy,” Galimi said. “We want to be that place that everybody wants to come hang out and have a good time, laugh, be able to have good conversation.”


Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 4 p.m.-until.
Friday: 3 p.m.-2 a.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

Photos: Corey Inscoe