Freret Beer Room is one of fall's most anticipated openings. Its owner, Eli Gay, notes that the surrounding Freret neighborhood doesn't lack for cocktail options, but there's no place that specifically focuses on beer. This new addition to the food scene isn't a craft beer bar, but a place that presents a carefully curated selection of of beer in a dining setting.
The Freret Beer Room mission statement, Gay says, is to focus on quality service and beer education, as well as encourage experimentation and most importantly, have fun.
"We're putting beer in more of a hospitality context," he says. To that end, chef Charles Vincent—one of the original founders of The Glass Onion in Charleston— has created a food menu with a wide range of flavor profiles to highlight all the possibilities of food and beer pairing diversity. Think everything from seasonal salads to veggie sides like collards or potatoes au gratin, or a fork and knife-style meatball sub.
The selection of beer on tap will change every time a keg blows, so if you see something you like the look of, grab it while you can.
Gay grew up around the corner from the Freret Street Corridor, and now lives in Broadmoor. He returned to the city several years ago with the idea to open the Freret Beer Room, and has been working in the beer and pairing-friendly atmosphere of St. James Cheese Company while scouting locations and tightening his business plan.
Construction began in late July. The industrial-style interior with concrete floors and sleek metallic chairs softens the edge with wooden bar and table tops as well as other pops of natural wood and floral arrangements.
The 16-tap draft system is unique, centered above the bar itself with tap lines running through the ceiling. There's a small outdoor space in the back of the building that will be available for al fresco drinking and dining.
Freret Beer Room is now awaiting final permits and licensing to open, hopefully within the next couple of weeks.