Grand opening for the Blue Monk (formerly Merlin’s) is only a couple of weeks away. Although there is still work to be done, the interior has come a long way and the logo has made its way onto the side of the building. As is common in cafe and restaurant rehabs these days, owners Mike Shatzel and Kevin Brinkworth made trips to the land of reuse to find a number of different fixtures for the pub. If you think about it, the reused materials add to the antiquity of the place, giving it a look that is more old world rather than cheap faux imitations. Take the wainscoting on the upper level for example – it’s made from old wooden doors that have been sawed in half. The makeover team, led by the visions of Sara Fitzpatrick Design, also restored as much of the original tin ceiling and wood floors as possible.
Being in the bar business for as long as he has, Mike (below) was able to score some incredible finds in the attic of another of his establishments. Oversized frames came in handy with the addition of chalk paint for beer and food menus. Beer and wine memorabilia will be the decor of choice – whatever wasn’t found in the attic was ordered from European vintage sign collectors and dealers. The decor will go well with the massive array of beer taps – one complete set of 12 taps will be solely dedicated to Belgians – the other 17 or so will be alternating brews. Regardless, this is shaping up to be a beer-lovers’ paradise.
The interior is impressive… and the exterior is going to be pretty fantastic as well. In the back, a fairly large courtyard is underway, and the awning over the front patio should be installed any day. The garage doors opening to the bar have been topped with a wide stone-looking ledge that will serve as a nice place to sit and interact with the people on the patio. On cold days the doors will be pulled down and a temporary bar ledge will be installed, giving customers a place to rest their beers – good thinking. High ceilings, plenty of natural light (the afternoon and evening sun will hit the front patio and the bar), ceiling fans, old-fashioned globe lighting with unobtrusive spots… I can’t wait to see what the atmosphere will be like after the sun goes down. The kitchen is much bigger than I imagined, especially with the addition of a new walk-in freezer/fridge. More than anything, I am pleased with the exterior – after suffering through so many years of chipped paint and ripped awnings, Blue Monk is a welcome addition to this stretch of Elmwood.