Down on the corner of the booming Fletcher Place neighborhood at 630 Virginia Ave. in the former Virginia Avenue State Bank, something exciting is happening. Next door to 12.05 Distillery, construction is going at a fevered pace to whip the historic building into a prime new restaurant spot. Bill and Teresa Webster are expanding the distillery into a craft cocktail bar and restaurant. We got to check it out in its construction phase, and the sneak peak got us really excited about the opening.
When we stopped in last week, it was all hands on deck as the drywall dust flew. General manager Andy Porter and Chef de Cuisine Blake Ellis were part of the construction crew. The 91-year old building is a historic landmark, which means all of its external components, like the original terra cotta exterior, are staying. It’s the inside that’s getting quite the makeover.
From what we can tell at this stage, the interior is going to be dazzling. They’ve already got some vintage crystal chandeliers hung, and the railing dividing the bar from the restaurant was taken from the old City Hall building. You’ll be able to see the inner workings of the distillery through a big window diving the two businesses. That’s more good news for families as well: the railing means parental types will be able to bring their youngins to the establishment.
As far as the menu goes, we’ve reported that it’s going to be a collection of 20s and 30s-era dishes. And the cocktail menu will, unsurprisingly, be full of throwback recipes using ingredients like egg whites and shrubs. Bar manager Eli Sanchez let us sample a few of his homemade shrubs, a cocktail ingredient that combines fruit, sugar and vinegar that gives cocktails brightness and bite. They’re easy to make at home: combine equal parts sugar and fresh fruit and let it macerate in its juices up to a week in a jar, then add your vinegar and strain it.
Sanchez and Porter put the opening, realistically, at about four to five weeks from now. We’ll have a full review when they officially open for business. In the meantime, you can get to know craft cocktails a little better at this weekend’s Mixture event.