It’s crunch time at the Bearded Goat, downtown Greensboro’s newest bar that’s moving into a long-vacant storefront on East Lewis Street. Owner/operator Seth Mapes and his team are pulling double shifts to finalize plans for the venue, which will include an extended, enclosed grassy area, a 12-foot-long community table and what Mapes hopes will be the biggest build-your-own Bloody Mary bar in the city each weekend.
The team behind the bar hails from Charlotte, including partners Matt Yavorcik and Michael Kuhn who live there, and Mapes and his wife recently relocated here to be closer to family. It’s still uncommon to see folks from outside the Triad deciding to open a bar here, but Mapes said the South End of downtown Greensboro reminds him of Charlotte’s popular and artsy NoDa district — at least how it was 10 years ago.
There’s plenty to support his idea that the South End area is cultivating a major cultural shift for the city — the vicinity is ground zero for Gibb’s Hundred Brewing, the new Fainting Goat Spirits (no relation, despite the name), Elsewhere, the Forge makerspace and a few other venues. Table 16 just went through renovations, and Boxcar bar and arcade — actually a transplant as well, this time from Raleigh — is on the way.
Mapes, 33, has been slinging drinks in Charlotte since he turned 21, and most recently worked as the general manager at the Blind Pig in Charlotte. At some point he hopes to expand the Bearded Goat to other parts of the city, though under slightly different names such as the Bearded Dragon. But for now, he’s still doing everything he can to pull together this “classy, artistic dive bar” by its targeted October opening.
The Bearded Goat will carry about 70 bottled or canned beers and will fill most of its 10 draft lines with North Carolina craft beer, Mapes said, adding that about 60 percent of the liquor will be whiskeys. Drinks will range from $2 all the way up to around $50, he said.
Three huge windows front Lewis Street, right there by their door just a short distance from the corner with South Elm, and a pass-thru window on the side will allow patrons drinking outside to order without coming in. Three big televisions are going in behind the bar, Mapes said, and they salvaged a couple features from the original O. Henry Hotel that will add to the industrial feel of the space. Between the Bloody Mary bar and the patio/lawn where a food truck can pull up, it suits his affinity for day drinking well.
“I just kinda like to bulls*** and talk to people all day long,” he said. “That’s probably how I got into this.”
Find the Bearded Goat on Facebook for more info or go to 116 E. Lewis St. (GSO).