Leave your cellphone in your pocket, and if you want to watch the local college hoops game with some cheap wings, well, you’ll be going somewhere else.
Pints & Union, which owner Joe Phillips hopes will open sometime in April at 114 E. Market St. in New Albany, will be inspired by European-style (or “Anglo-Irish”) pubs, built for conversing over a pint — or five. Even the name reflects typical pub names in Europe and the United Kingdom.
“We’re going to resurrect the spirit of what a real pub is,” Phillips told Insider.
The building, which was constructed in the 1880s, originally was a general store called the Yankee Doodle store, and for years it was a bar called Love’s Café, followed by a tavern called Good Times.
The structure, which encompasses roughly 2,000 square feet, has been completely rebuilt from the inside out by developer Steve Resch.
Much of the original wood will be repurposed in the final design of the pub, which is two stories. The upper floor will be a loft-style level that overlooks the main-floor pub, said Phillips, a sales representative for Capriole Farms who has worked all his life in the restaurant business.
A custom bar about 30 feet long is being constructed, along with high-back, wrap-around booths and a fireplace. Phillips promises he will find a British phone booth to cap off the décor.
Expect casual seating near the fireplace, plus a standing bar in the main room. Upstairs, patrons will find large “community” tables as well as a bookshelf filled with books ranging from philosophy to classic fiction. Music will be mostly British, said Phillips, “from the Kinks to the Sleaford Mods.”
The goal, quite simply, is to build the pub for comfort, the thought being that if someone comes and feels at home, they’ll stay longer and return often. Phillips and business partner Roger Baylor envision a place that feels nearly as cozy as home.
Baylor, founder and former owner of New Albanian Brewing Company, will run the beer program, estimating there will be eight taps.
Four of these will pour “comfort beers” one might find in a pub in the U.K., such as Guinness, Fuller’s London Pride and Pilsner Urquell. One tap will always be filled with a cider, while the remaining will rotate based on season and whim.
“Anywhere you go in the world,” Baylor said, “you know what you’re going to get in an Irish pub. This is the same idea.”
Part of this beer program, and the pub in general, will be about education. Baylor and Phillips both have traveled extensively to Europe and want to inject their experiences into Pints & Union. This will include helping locals to acclimate to what a pub is meant to be.
Baylor’s knowledge of classic beer styles will therefore be on full display. In other words, you’ll be more likely to get a 20-ounce pour of Old Speckled Hen than of the trendy IPA of the week.
“The basic idea, to me, would be not to pretend the last 20 years didn’t exist,” Baylor said, referring to the rise of modern craft beer’s trendiness, “but to just overlook it.”
The bar will be stocked with Irish whiskey, scotch and other spirits, and classic cocktails will be available.
The pub will include a small kitchen that will produce a succinct, pub-inspired menu of small plates. Or, as Phillips described it, “approachable and interesting pub food” that might range from Scotch eggs to sliders.
When it’s all said and done, Phillips and Baylor both want the type of place a traveler would expect to stumble into during a visit to Europe — something accessible to anyone and everyone.
“We’re going to resurrect a lot of things that matter” with Pints & Union, Phillips said. “The art of the conversation, the art of community. … You have to host a pub, you don’t own it. It’s like inviting someone to come over to your house and watch movies.”