"Wait till you see this," Deepak Nath told me.
The bar owner's new big-deal project -- in the former Spin nightclub -- is still a construction zone. But as he gave me a tour last week, it wasn't hard to get a sense for this super-sized, Prohibition-themed restaurant and party bar. It'll be called the Pourhouse. An opening is tentatively set for June 1.
The swanky multilevel interior of Spin has been gutted to make way for a casual, throwback concept. Nath envisions walls of moonshine barrels and bathrooms that look like mini jail cells. The old VIP lounge is now the Hooch Room. He couldn't contain his excitement for a fake bookcase. Once completed, it'll open to a secret passage leading to a small bar hidden in the recesses of the Lumber Exchange building.
Nath is working on the 12,000-square-foot behemoth with Jay Ettinger (his partner at nearby Bootleggers), plus Brent Frederick and Jacob Toledo (owners of the Maple Tavern in Maple Grove).
While the Pourhouse has an old-school theme, don't expect Prohibition-era, handcrafted cocktails (Bradstreet, it's not). This is a party bar with food. The Maple Tavern duo are handling the restaurant portion, with twists on American classics. There will be a buffalo wing hotness challenge that requires a waiver. The kitchen will close during the late-night party hours, then reopen at bar close for walking tacos (taco-in-a-bag). There's also a big appetizer list for sports fans.
That's right: It's a sports bar, too. In addition to plasma TVs, they're bringing in a 24-foot HD projection screen. "We will have the best viewing experience for sports in the Upper Midwest," Nath said. They've also built a stage for bands, DJs, comedians and other live acts. He hopes to have entertainment on most nights.
At the end of our tour, Nath took me into an alleyway wedged between the Lumber Exchange and a ramp. He plans to transform this secluded space into an adult playground with outdoor seating, beanbag courts, Hammerschlagen and other games. I called it a "secret back alley patio."
Nath corrected me: "Double-secret back alley patio."
Harriet brings the 'Sol'
On Saturday, one of my favorite Twin Cities breweries, Harriet, celebrates spring in a big way. Following the success of last fall's Rauchfest beer event, Harriet has put together Sol Bock Revival, a mini-fest dedicated to the release of its warm-weather beers (including the titular maibock). The all-day tent party will be highlighted by a long lineup of bands (including Natty Nation, the Reckless Ones and Javier Trejo), plus several food trucks. It's also the grand opening of the taproom, which will have a stage and a couple bars.