A publican, a grocer, and a chef

A high gravity pour coming soon

The Central City Neighborhood Association approved lots of Liquor Licenses today (all approvals are contingent on final approval of both the Public Safety Committee and the City Council).

First off was Pale Eddie’s Pour House, to be located in the former Shift Work space directly east of What’s on 2nd (Second Avenue North between 23rd and 24th streets).  The neighborhood decided to adopt a new procedure, asking this bar (and all future applicants) to sign a “Good Neighbor Agreement” chiefly to prevent violations of the City Noise Ordinance. This has become a problem with the Rogue Tavern, as well as some other bars downtown. The owners seemed eager to do what it takes to satisfy those residents who may appreciate a toddy at 9 PM, but not necessarily a loud band amplified into their bedroom at 1 AM. A large selection of gourmet and high gravity beers will be available, a patio will be out back, and they hope to be open by August.

Walking across the street for a bottle of milk

Next up: Mamanoes, a new grocery and convenience store opening in the former Gypsy Market space. Antonio Boyd, the owner, has signed a lease and expects to be open by mid-June. He will sell Mr. P’s meats and deli sandwiches, a full selection of wines and beers, grocery staples, and ice cream. The neighbors seems especially appreciative of the ice cream. Boyd has experience at Whole Foods in Rockville, MD and we are all eager to see the paper come off the storefront to reveal an essential neighborhood service.

I was surprised at some disapproval voiced in the room regarding the grocer’s plan to sell single beers. Neighbors stated that such a policy encouraged homeless, recovering alcoholics, and other unfortunates to patronize a store–thereby annoying other customers. Others, however, stressed that it’s customary for gourmet beers to often be “split” from their six-packs and sold individually, for much higher prices than Colt 45, I would guess. So, in the end, Boyd will sell single beers at his discretion (there is no law saying he can’t, by the way).

About to open for dinner

Finally, the neighborhood gave the nod to favorite local coffee shop Urban Standard, which plans to start serving a new dinner menu–with beer and wine–in the near future. I’m sure that I’m not alone wondering what culinary treats Chef Meloy has in store.

A new pub, a new grocery, and dinner next door. I’ll drink to that.

11 responses to “A publican, a grocer, and a chef

  1. Hah. That Whole Foods is only a few miles from my parents’ house.

    Maryland in Alabama. Sweet.

  2. Colm–I’ve passed that Whole Foods in Rockville but never been in. No idea if his experience was on the loading dock, customer service, or foreign cheese, but it sounds at least a little promising.

    • Starting a grocery would hardly be the oddest transition for a Whole Foods of employee of any stripe, really.

      Case in Point: Dan Steinberg. Former Whole Foods cheese counter guy, now columnist for The Washington Post. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/

      Glad to see the pour house taking shape on 2nd, especially after the Vulcan Alehouse closed before it even opened, although the impression I got from reading was that it was more of the brewery than the bar/food that was the issue.

      I may have asked this here before. But what is the status of the old Regions (?) building that was going to be a hotel before the economy tanked in light of Bell’s new hotel plan?

      • The old Regions building (former First Alabama Bank Building) on 20th street was slated for a Renaissance brand 4-star hotel. Harbert was the developer, and Regions was financing it. The deal was all ready to go when the economy tanked, and hotel financing was frozen.

        Birmingham, I believe, still needs a 4-star hotel on the south side of Linn Park. I also know the BJCC is desperately in need of more full-service hotel rooms on site to help market the BJCC. All of this would be so much easier if I-20/59 didn’t cut off the BJCC from the CBD.

  3. Margaret Arndt

    All very good news….especially about Urban Standard!

  4. Do you think we’ll EVER get a 4-star hotel downtown? Another nice hotel at BJCC? Can we support both?

    Is our downtown just that unappealing to national developers? Seems everybody and their mother-in-law wants to be on Hwy 150 or Hwy 119 these days.

    • Todd, good question. Downtown has recently been appealing to developers for 3-star hotels (Marriott Residence Inn, Hyatt Place, etc.) but the 4-star remains bafflingly elusive. National hoteliers are not disinterested, but the right location and deal needs to be put into place. And, of course, the marketplace for financing needs to be a whole lot better than it is now.

      A Westin at BJCC would be a 4-star hotel. I do think we could support one there and one a few blocks south somewhere in the CBD as long as they are great brands and not too big.

  5. This is great news all around. Can’t wait for Urban Standard to roll out a dinner menu. I love downtown Birmingham for many reasons. Second Avenue North is a big reason.

  6. David Pelfrey

    Looks like I’ll need to install that cot at the Black & White office soon. If we also get a pastry shop and a bookstore selling magazines on Second, I can proceed with my plans for an entire back room.

    • I remember when I first moved back to Birmingham that newsstand was still on 20th street. I didn’t know how good I had it then. Once that closed I’d take the Dart to Five Points just to browse the Joe Mugg’s magazine selection. Even that’s gone.

      So yes, between a pastry shop, a bookstore, and a cinema, I’d be ready to convert that cot to a full-blown suite.

  7. Pingback: On the agenda: A new use for our old home | The Terminal - Birmingham AL's hub

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