When ShopBar opens later this summer in Germantown, owners Natasha Sud and Gerald Dickerson want it to be as much about friends as about cocktails. The couple envisions a cozy space with plants and flowers inside and out, one that is inviting to everyone.
One-half of the business will be a boutique that sells local artwork, clothing, jewelry and more, while the other half will be a small bar that will serve everything from craft cocktails to cans of cheap beer.
What was until recently a dingy-looking, non-descript former gas station soon will be a blossoming patio area bordered in planters and bearing foliage high and low.
“It will be very lush and vibrant,” Dickerson says, with Sud adding the space will be “as green and awesome as possible.”
Sud says the hope is to be open by late June or early July.
The future home of ShopBar, 950 Barret Ave., has long been a spot for a rotating list of automotive businesses, from repair to detailing. The former gas and service station dates back nearly 100 years. It’s about to get a new purpose and a new life.
The 250-square-foot boutique space isn’t large, but it’s equipped with a single restroom facility. The couple removed a drop ceiling and fluorescent lighting and added a hanging light and rustic-looking retail counter.
The bar space is about 750 square feet and is adjacent to the retail shop. Two garage doors will be replaced by rolling tempered glass doors. The couple envisions murals and photographs on the walls, with more plants and flowers. They’re hoping for a cozy, inviting feel.
Booths and mismatched tables, plus bar seating, will accommodate up to 40 or so, while the patio space, with picnic tables, could double that amount. A small parking lot will be accessible directly behind the bar. Dickerson that space also likely will be used for rotating food trucks and possibly small events.
The couple is acquiring architectural salvage to help build out both buildings, highlighted by a pair of vintage metal arches that will provide an entry to the patio area.
Inside the bar, a pair of unisex restrooms are being built, and the couple is enlisting the help of friends as much as possible to complete the buildout and décor, naming Keegan Glenn as being in charge of building out the patio, bar and other features.
“It feels like a fresh canvas for us to do what we want to do with it,” Dickerson says. “It’s definitely got a keep-it-in-the-family feel.”
They are funding the remodel themselves. Sud is an artist, while Dickerson is a veteran of the hospitality scene, having experience with Buckhead, Seviche, Migo, Ostra and other prominent bars and restaurants. He will lead the cocktail program.
“I’ve got a list a mile long in my head and a list a mile long in my phone of things I want to do,” he says.
While the cocktails will be creative and upscale, there will be simpler items like wine, sangria and craft beer, sourced locally as much as possible. Bar snacks will be available, and food trucks will provide food for Saturday and Sunday brunches.
“Fine dining meets blue collar” is how Sud envisions it, prompting Dickerson to add, “It’s ‘The Gambler’ meets ‘Hello Dolly.’”
In addition, the couple has commissioned a custom-made, 11-foot long sign for the former garage building. The sign is bulb-lit and made from metal and wood.
Sud says part of the mission is to bring the neighborhood fixture back to life.
“I’ve had friends who got their cars fixed here,” she says. “The feedback we’ve gotten is that everybody wants to see something good go into it.”