The new NOLA Brewing Taproom officially opened for business on July 2, seven days a week from 11am-11pm. The taproom bar serves a couple dozen of the brewery's flagship, seasonal, sour, and experimental beers; and the food window serves up McClure's smoked meat and assorted sides.
The space includes a downstairs bar, an upstairs bar, a second floor balcony seating area, and an event space in the back. Reclaimed wood runs throughout the space, in the flooring, the wainscoting, and the booths, because NOLA Brewing President and CEO Kirk Coco wanted to evoke an old school New Orleans vibe, according the Nikki Turry, NOLA Taproom Manager. "We wanted it to look like an older space, not all new and flashy," Turry says. "That's not what we're about."
Much of the decor and architectural detail is recycled from the brewery itself: the barrel tables use barrels that NOLA can't use anymore; the framed grain bags in pallet wood comes from the raw materials made to make the beer, and put together by brewer Derek Lintern; and the tin that surrounds the outdoor balcony is repurposed from its original place in what's now the NOLA sour room.
Local artists and craftsmen also contributed to the overall look of the taproom: a representation of the Frenchy-created Rebirth Pale Ale can design hangs upstairs, along with black and white photos of life in the brewery by Crystal Shelton. Local woodworker Jason Guidry with Crescent City Woodwork provided all tabletops and bar seating.
The back space was designed to be an event space, and is still somewhat of a blank canvas, Turry says. "We want to see what the space becomes - how people actually enjoy the space," in order to realize its full potential. Right now, several ping-pong tables inhabit the space for patron use, and Turry hopes to house some vintage pinball machines in there soon.
Upstairs, the lighting fixtures are recycled streetcar and railcar pieces, which is an homage to what's across Tchoupitoulas, according to Turry. "That's what you're looking at, more often than not, if you're sitting upstairs," she says. "The trains moving everything in and out of New Orleans."
Outside, the team has planted 15 trees from local nonprofit Hike for KaTREEna, and the plan is to develop a beer garden type of space where people can enjoy fresh air, a cigarette, or time with their pets, along with NOLA's beers.