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Pints & Union, a ‘Real’ European Public House, Set to Open in June

BY KEVIN GIBSON | PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN WATSON

pu-2Joe Phillips nearly gushes when he talks about Pints & Union, his forthcoming project that will soon open in downtown New Albany.

As someone who longs for the European-style pub – not the local bar or brewery featuring tap takeovers and weekly craft beer releases – he will find escape within the environs of the new public house. He believes others will too.

It will be a place of reflection and conversation, with twice-weekly beer discussions over pints of Guinness and Fuller’s London Pride with beer director Roger Baylor, other discussion groups, art and more.

“It will be a public house – like, a real one,” Phillips said.

The circa-1880 space certainly will look the part, with exposed brick and wood accents, ornate chandeliers, mix-and-match furniture, and even a vintage pay phone (yes, it works). An upstairs loft will overlook the main bar area, complete with ornate railing. The bar is 30 feet long, while the space totals roughly 2,000 square feet.

Originally a general store known as the Yankee Doodle store, the building was for years a bar called Love’s. The space has been completely gutted and renovated, so it won’t bear a resemblance to its predecessors.

There will be traditional bar and pub-style seating upstairs and down, but there also will be lounge areas, not to mention a fire place, a true staple of a European public house. House music will lean toward British, with themed playlists on weekends. Upstairs, there will be a small library for those who want to simply sit and read. The collection of décor and seating will be organically eclectic.

“I’m spending a ridiculous amount of time at auctions, finding chairs like you’d see at grandma’s house,” Phillips said. “Pub seating should be personal, not impersonal.”

He said the menu will be succinct, with six to nine core items and other rotating specials based on season and availability. As many ingredients as possible will be sourced from the nearby farmers market.

“We want to go down there and grab a handful of stuff, and when it’s gone, it’s gone,” Phillips said. He wouldn’t reveal the core menu but described it as “internationally-inspired street food.”

In fact, Pints & Union will be open on Saturday mornings while the market is open for the stray shopper who wants to step inside for a pint. Sundays will feature a “hangover menu” – “Our version of brunch,” Phillips said – while Wednesdays will feature $10 select bottles of wine and raclette, a Swiss dish made up of seasonal pickles, bread, vegetables and sausages, topped with warmed cheese.

“It’s approachable and no one is doing it,” Phillips said. “You can’t lose. It’s (really) good.”

Baylor’s beer list will feature staples Anchor Porter, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Pilsner Urquell, Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, Upland Champagne Velvet and Thomas Family Winery cider, as well as the aforementioned Guinness and Fuller’s. Several rotating tap lines will be filled by seasonal craft and import beers. About 20 or so import bottle selections will be available as well, and there will be a full bar for those who prefer an Irish whisky or some other spirit.

When it’s all said and done, Pints & Union will strive for accessibility to anyone who happens to step inside. Not a place to watch the big game, the public house will cater to those who want discussion and education.

Phillips said he expects to do a soft open sometime in mid-June, with a public opening immediately afterward. Hours will be 4 p.m.-midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to whenever on Sunday.

“If it’s banging at 10 (at night) on a Sunday, we’ll stay open,” Phillips said.

Pints & Union is located at 114 E. Market St. in downtown New Albany, not far from the city’s bustling restaurant and bar scene, such as the popular Gospel Bird, Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Hull and High Water and more. But Phillips promises his new establishment will be a different animal.

“We’re just going to do fun stuff, have fun,” Phillips said. “Be Bohemian.”

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Laidback, Local Levity

screen-shot-2018-04-11-at-11-42-14-amMichelle Ray was just helping a friend out when she agreed to bartend at her pal’s wedding a while back. The friend was getting married and had a sudden need for bartenders.

Ray was planning on going to the wedding anyway and told her friend she’d be glad to help out. She brought along Courtney Cain, and the two surprisingly enjoyed working the bar that night. Together, they had the realization that while the one night was fun, they had the skills to make what they were doing a real business: “The conversation picked up from there like, ‘We can do this,’” Ray recalls. “‘We can get insured and do all the things we need to do to be a legit mobile bartending business.’”

And so, Naked by Sunday, a mobile bartending service, was born, and now, a year later, its affiliated brick and mortar, Double Barrel, is on the brink of opening.

As Ray and Cain developed the concept of their business, keeping things fun was at the forefront of their priorities. “I thought, weddings are so serious all the time. Let’s be fun! Let’s be the fun part of it,” Ray laughs. Consequently, they decided to name their business Naked by Sunday, which was an homage to a featured cocktail at the bar Ray and Cain used to work at together.

Now, they’re known for their positive energy and keeping things light and fun.

As a mobile bartending service, Naked by Sunday takes care of everything you’d need from a bar. “We go to wedding receptions, open houses, graduation parties, birthday parties – whatever kind of event you’re having that requires a bartender,” Cain explains. “We’re licensed and insured in Kentucky and Indiana, and we have 12 bartenders that we staff.” That number, 12, came as quite a surprise to the partners, as they thought it would mostly just be the two of them when they started.screen-shot-2018-04-05-at-2-36-57-pm

“We went into it thinking that we were just gonna do it for fun every now and then when one of our friends was getting married or something,” Ray recounts. “But it kind of evolved rather quickly – faster than either of us expected. We have actually only worked one event together. We thought it was cool the first time we got double booked on a weekend but now we’re five or six deep on some weekends.”

Naked by Sunday officially launched in April 2017, and in their first year of business, they did over 80 events. Now, they’re booking into 2019 and have even sent out quotes for events in 2020. The only thing hindering their ability to say yes to everyone who tries to book is their shortage of bartenders. If they had more staff, Ray and Cain insist they would have a hard time turning down and event.

But at the events they do work, they strive to make it as easy on the client as possible. For example, whereas comparable companies may just provide the bartender or bartender and cups, Naked by Sunday will send anything and everything you need for a bar, which means you don’t have to ask your uncle to pick up ice on his way to the party.

“Being able to bring all the stuff ourselves,” Ray says, “can really take away from the busy day (the client) already has when we can alleviate some of that pain of running around or tasking someone in your family to run around and do all that for you.”screen-shot-2018-04-05-at-2-36-51-pm

After only a year in business, Naked by Sunday is ready to get to the next level: opening a brick and mortar bar. “In order for us to go one step further with our business, with Naked by Sunday, we had to have a brick and mortar,” Ray affirms. “You can’t sell the alcohol in the state of Indiana without a brick and mortar – you can only serve it. So, in order for us to be able to sell, which a lot of brides are actually wanting to do now, we had to have a brick and mortar, and the opportunity is now here for us to do it.”

Ray and Cain also have a third silent partner ensure its properly outfitted as a bar, and the ambiance is now modern, comfortable, rustic and laidback.

When developing the concept of Double Barrel, Ray and Cain knew they wanted to keep it as relaxed as their mobile service. “You look around us and there’s these really nice restaurants in downtown New Albany – Brooklyn and The Butcher, The Exchange, Hull & High Water, Gospel Bird,” Ray says. “You’ve got all these great restaurants around here, and you’ve got these folks who go out for a nice dinner and then want to go have a drink but don’t really want a louder, rowdier place. Or maybe they just want to go and have drinks and continue a nice conversation. And there’s not that ‘after dinner mint’ place that you can go to.”

Double Barrel will be that “after dinner mint” locale – a place that’s easygoing and comfortable to go to after enjoying a meal on the town. The décor emphasizes the laidback concept and ensures guests will feel right at home even in the environment of a downtown bar. But that’s not to say there won’t be anything to do at Double Barrel. “I went to a bar in Nashville once and they had a couple board games, a couple half-finished puzzles – it was just a really chill place,” Cain remembers. “And I thought that would be a neat concept to put some games in here and make it chill while giving people something to do.”

When Double Barrel opens, which should be mid-April, they will offer guests comfortable couches with the added option of games. Ray and Cain hope to host live music nights eventually and look forward to using seasonal fruits from the nearby New Albany Farmers Market in some of their creations.

There will be a few signature cocktails, but the pair is more interested in being able to guarantee you can order whatever you’d like at Double Barrel. The experience will be what you make of it. Whether that means a Jack and Coke, a finer bourbon on the rocks or one of the local craft beers, at the heart of Double Barrel is a team that just wants you to enjoy yourself.

“So many places are trying to burn tables and get you out the door as quick as possible, but we don’t want you to leave,” Ray maintains. “Come and stay and hang out with us and have a good time.”

(Clockwise from top left)
n An aficionado enjoyed his cigar. n Katie Woods & David Beard. n Hutch. n Sissy Van Winkle, Match owner Jeff Mouttet, Julian P. Van Winkle III, Jonathan Drew and Sara Mouttet. n Match bartender Jinx and bourbon. Lots of bourbon. n Douglas Kahl, JT Jones, Jessica and Jeff Knopp, & Terry Beard.

Match Cigar Bar New Albany Grand Opening

(Clockwise from top left) n An aficionado enjoyed his cigar. n Katie Woods & David Beard. n Hutch. n Sissy Van Winkle, Match owner Jeff Mouttet, Julian P. Van Winkle III, Jonathan Drew and Sara Mouttet. n Match bartender Jinx and bourbon. Lots of bourbon. n Douglas Kahl, JT Jones, Jessica and Jeff Knopp, & Terry Beard.

(Clockwise from top left)
n An aficionado enjoyed his cigar. n Katie Woods & David Beard. n Hutch. n Sissy Van Winkle, Match owner Jeff Mouttet, Julian P. Van Winkle III, Jonathan Drew and Sara Mouttet. n Match bartender Jinx and bourbon. Lots of bourbon. n Douglas Kahl, JT Jones, Jessica and Jeff Knopp, & Terry Beard.

June 9 • Match Cigar Bar in New Albany

Jeff and Sara Mouttet hosted the grand opening of Match Cigar Bar’s newest location in New Albany. Julian Van Winkle and Jonathan Drew were on hand to mingle and educate attendees about an unreleased cigar crafted for Pappy Van Winkle. Guests enjoyed a lively evening as they ushered in the city’s newest hotspot.

Photos by Danny Alexander