Argyll Whisky Beer has been open less than a year, but physical changes are already afoot. Yesterday morning, owner Robert Thompson had a construction crew in at 6:30 a.m. to open up the wall between the bar and dining room and remove dividers on the other side of the bar to allow more access to the atrium. By 11 a.m., the dust and debris had been cleaned up in time for lunch service. The result allows the dining room, bar and atrium to flow into one another.
"We're paying attention to what the neighborhood wants," explains Thompson. "We were at capacity at the bar, and we wanted to lighten the mood of the whole restaurant by finding ways to integrate the bar and dining room." A large doorway was cut into the wall behind the host stand, and dining booths were removed to make room for high-top tables. Another doorway was cut into the brick wall facing the atrium, and glass panels were removed all the way around the inside wall between the glassed-in patios and the bar.
"It's a small amount of work for a big impact," Thompson adds. The work will continue this morning, with some changes to the pass-through that will minimize harsh lighting coming from the kitchen into the dining room. Temporary wooden countertops, which will be replaced with marble surfaces that will be delivered this weekend, are being placed between the bar and atrium to provide additional bar seating. Improvements are also being made to the back patio, which many customers don't even realize is there.
Changes are coming to the menu, too. "We're taking out some of the fussier elements and ramping up the rustic," says Thompson. "We're also lowering the price point a little. The neighborhood is more Millennial than we originally anticipated. The menu will be more construct-your-own than colossal plates."
By placing more of an emphasis on the bar, especially the beer and whisky elements — "the name is Argyll Whisky Beer," Thompson points out — and adjusting the menu toward younger customers' eating preferences, Argyll hopes to keep up with neighborhood needs. "It's what smart restaurateurs do," Thompson explains. "We're not smart restaurateurs, but we're doing it anyway."
The new menu will be rolling out at the end of the month; this week's construction will not impact lunch or dinner service.
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