The Snooty Cooter is a bar within a bar. A few months ago, Cooter Brown's Tavern manager Jonathan Junca and owner Larry Berestitzky decided it was time to get back in the craft beer scene in a more thoughtful manner than their many taps had afforded them since 1977. The 20-tap back bar has carefully curated brews from near and far, and is open during the week at 5:00pm and at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
It's a unique solution to the problem of shifting to meet changing demand without alienating the current clientele. Here now, Jonathan Junca the man behind the mini-makeover, a Cooter Brown veteran since January 2008 who is making his mark on the city's craft beer scene talks Snooty Cooter.
What inspired the Snooty Cooter?
Basically, we wanted to go in a different direction. We've been pigeonholed as a sports bar in recent years, but before that, in 1977, Larry was focused on bringing in imports to fill out all the taps. That's what a beer bar did back then. Now the market's shifted, and it's time to get back to that. We didn't want to deter from what we're doing now, but with this space we can add to it.
How was opening weekend?
It was pretty strong. Between college football, and the holiday weekend, we did some nice business.
Did you get any beer geeks?
It was interesting, we got some foot traffic in of people that would be there anyway, but we also had people that were actively seeking out the beer.
What sold particularly well at the Snooty Cooter this week?
The Gruit from New Belgium, surprisingly. Founders All Day IPA, and that Southern Prohibition black IPA, Sinister Minister, did really well too. Tin Roof and Southern Prohibition cans moved well.
What was your selection process for the draft beers?
It was interesting - I've learned a lot over the past couple of months. We wanted unique beers, and specialty seasonals, one-offs, stuff like that. But those 20 taps filled up fast. But my philosophy is, let's not be static, and let's get as many different beers through here as we can.
What do people think of the name?
(Laughs) Most people like the name, I think. I mean, I've only heard good things about it.
Did you get any feedback for changes you might make to the format, concept, or selection?
I think most people liked the lineup we had. It's a good mix of solid beers. In the next week or so, I'll probably put on three new drafts, just to keep it moving. But of course I'll be continuing to watch everything and improve as we go.