When one door closes in NoDa, another one always opens — and sometimes, there’s a little piece of the past that shines through.
After seemingly endless months of preparations, Stu’s Barrel House is ready to open its doors in NoDa’s former Salvador Deli location. For a couple of years, it served as the Jack Beagle’s prep kitchen.
Stu’s will be named after the Salvador Deli owner, Stu Sloan, who passed away several years ago just a few weeks after losing his deli.
Live music will be a regular fixture in the place where Sloan often held free concerts.
The soft opening could begin as early as today, with the owners planning to greet its first weekend with a bang: rockabilly and indie rock group McFarland will perform Saturday if all goes well with the opening.
A grand opening is scheduled for a later date.
“As you well know, we’ve been messing around with this property for quite a while,” operations manager Mike McGuire said. “There are a lot of personal touches. We are super excited to open and have something a little different to offer from Jack Beagle’s.”
In addition to the cozy interior with a stage, seating will be offered outside on the front and back patios. A craft cocktail menu will feature unique options, including aging a strawberry serrano-pepper-infused tequila in a bourbon barrel.
“Once you start mixing things up, you can really do amazing things,” McGuire said. “You can get creative with it. I like to call it cross-pollinating.”
Bar manager Kristin Brzezinski said her favorite cocktail on the menu is called Lola Rabbit. It’s made with fresh carrot juice, ginger, Tito’s vodka and lime coconut cream.
“I love incorporating fresh ingredients throughout the year, playing on what’s in season,” she said.“I’m not even a huge vodka fan, but this is a good drink.”
Eventually, weekend hours will include brunch drinks such as coffee cocktails and mimosas, McGuire said. “We’re not a sports bar, but you can come in and watch the game.”
The famous sign out front is nearly complete, with reminders of Salvador Deli still shining through.
“We wanted to use the gargoyles in the logo, because of the gargoyles that were always on the side of the building,” owner Chris Ingram said. Those gargoyles from the side will be featured on the back bar. Look closely to see the beer bottles with Salvador Dali’s face still out front.
Changes are abound in downtown NoDa of late, with Davidson Street Public House closing unexpectedly and Billy Jack’s Shack coming in. NoDa News recently reported that Revolution Ale House, slated to become Moo & Brew, now will be Room & Board.
Stu’s Barrel House opening will help fill a void left behind on the block when Solstice Tavern unexpectedly closed its doors last week, leaving many NoDa residents wondering what the future of the neighborhood looks like.
Thanks to Stu’s, it will look just a little bit like the past.
“Between the rezoning, construction, moving all utilities underground and everything else, this has been one of the hardest projects that we have ever done,” Ingram said. “We are very happy to have it almost completed and we hope that Stu approves.”