When you’ve been day drinking, the only way to make sure you make it out at night is to keep drinking. Duh! A couple weekends ago, that’s exactly what I decided to do. After drinking more than my fair share since 1:30 p.m., I found myself in an Uber with a few friends heading through South End to Craft Growler Shop and Tasting Room — Craft for short.
Tucked away on South Church Street is a small stark white building with a covered patio and string lights — y’all know I love string lighting. Contrasting the paint is the black CRAFT circular logo on the wall. And inside, you are welcomed by the character of the building with exposed brick and piping. Bottle shelves are placed throughout the room with six-packs of craft beer and miscellaneous edibles. There are wooden tables and chairs for small groups of friends to share a snack or have conversation. But the centerpiece is the chalkboard and 36-tap system behind the bar.
We sat down at the bar and began checking out the selection. Of course, I went straight for a sour. Our bartender — who was pretty much a doppelganger for Bobby Brown — was super friendly and accommodating, letting us taste-test a couple beers since this was our first time there. One of my friends who had suggested we go there — mainly because he was hungry and wanted to kill two birds with one stone: eat but continue to drink — asked for a menu.
The menu is made up of “small bites and prepared food” that are locally sourced. It includes cheese plates, charcuterie boards and flatbread pizzas. Of course, in my drunken state, I thought it would be a great idea to not partake in food.
Shortly after throwing back a couple more beers, I noticed a new face talking to the staff, and I assumed it had to be the owner. A hard worker (and also a trained chef), he jumps behind the bar and begins helping out. Somehow I managed to communicate that I write about nightlife for Creative Loafing and asked if he had a few minutes to spare. He immediately dropped everything he was doing to gab with me at a picnic table on the gorgeous patio outside.
After reviewing the recording of our conversation, all I can say is Dan Davis has to be one of the most patient and nicest people I’ve come into contact with yet. Day-drunk to night-drunk Aerin is quite the character. And not only did he spare a few minutes listening to drunk babble, he sat with me for an entire hour! (Side note: It’s amazing how dumb you can sound after a day of drinking. I’m thinking a collection of drunken gab translations is going to be an upcoming article.)
Fairly new, Craft will be six months old at the end of April. A combination of food, craft beer and great energy, “This place is a Frankenstein of a lot of different ideas I had,” Davis shared. He is originally from Nashville, Tennessee (which he had to tell me more than twice) and then moved to New York. After marriage and kids, he and his wife decided to pick up and move back to the South. He got the idea for Craft after visiting Atlanta a few years prior. The sale of growlers — 32 ounce and 64 ounce jugs of beer — while illegal in North Carolina at the time, were popular there.
Now that they are legal here, beer enthusiasts can enjoy their favorite craft beer at home. At Craft, after you purchase a growler, you can bring it back and get it refilled. Hold on to your underwear — you still have to pay for the beer, but hey, it’s still a great way to be environmentally friendly and get drunk at the same time.
Dan thought it would just be a place where people would come, grab a six-pack or a growler and then head home. Instead, he says it has become more of a hub and beer garden. People come and grab a beer just to enjoy the atmosphere. He attributes this to the mix of people in the periphery of South End that find their way there, “It’s a one-stop great place for everything.”
What else does Craft have to offer? Games and entertainment, and next on the list is a rooftop patio where my friends suggest having make-out couches, to which Davis just laughed and said, “That may just be a great idea.”
Dan, if you’re reading this, thanks for being brave enough to take on day-drinking Aerin. Oh, and you have a great beard. #beardgang