When the Whiskey Tavern opened in Asheville in April 2006, the place was jumping. Every seat was filled with eager young bar-hoppers looking the latest, coolest hangout.
People raved about the menu (fresh soups and salads, fish entrees and ribs) and lauded the island with seating for about 100. Old exposed brick and big windows preserved the industrial feel of the days when the place was the MiniCo Dry Cleaners.
When Whiskey Tavern opened, it brought back to life a spot at 81 Broadway that housed the Bar Code and then the Asheville Music Zone. Both those places couldn’t survive.
Now the Whiskey Tavern faces similar tough times. On a recent Thursday night, the place was practically empty. The new bar manager said he’d just started a couple of days ago, and was determined to make the place work. The bar plans to focus on making customers welcome, remake its menu, launch an advertising campaign and plans to be the home of a newly formed club for Carolina basketball fans. The bar also has an agreement now with a nearby bank to allow people to park there and walk over, because there’s only on-street parking outside the tavern.
So if you haven’t been by lately, give the Whiskey Tavern another try. It’s a beautiful bar. It would be a shame to see the place go under.
"That’s funny, I never heard good things about The Whiskey Tavern. I heard their food sucked, they served it on paper plates, the whiskey came in dixie cups, and the "eager young bar hoppers" were fratty college kids. Didn’t really sound like my scene."
Yeah thats the place I remember. When they had whiskey in stock that is. Add to the list employees who didnt get paid for the first couple months, at least while i was there, still owed about 1500. Regular roation of a couple illegal guys who worked till they dissapeard the new guys came in. Bar manager who kept his fair share of tips… list goes on. Dump owned by trash rednecks.
Weird … Chris and I were just talking about how Whiskey Tavern has taken a tumble. It’s not really in a good "hotspot" of town, ya know? It’s not in the Magnolia / Cinjade’s district, it’s not on Biltmore Ave and it’s not in the Bier Garden / jack of the wood / college street / etc etc etc area … it’s a lone bar with bad parking. I dunno, there’s not really anything special about that place, so what’s the draw? I’d rather hang at Bier Garden.
I went there once in the first few months of them being open and never went back.
The poster above is right on regarding the number of bars downtown can support and not only that – we have a new onslaught of bars on Haywood in West Asheville. There IS a limit people. I know its everyones dream to own their own bar but if you’re so inspired I suggest you do something REALLY different, above and beyond whats already out there or find yourself another town to sling beer in.
That’s funny, I never heard good things about The Whiskey Tavern. I heard their food sucked, they served it on paper plates, the whiskey came in dixie cups, and the "eager young bar hoppers" were fratty college kids. Didn’t really sound like my scene.
It’s hard to make a bar that big work, especially when your up against two entrenched giants like Jack of the Woods and Barley’s.
Asheville may just have too many bars downtown to support it’s off season population.
There’s Barley’s, Jack, Flannigans, Jolly Rouge, College street, charlotte street, Stella Blue, that stupid techno place by College street, Yacht Club, Scully’s, Cox st. briew and view, Broadways, Emerald lounge, Flying Frog etc.
I think the Bar boom just hit the same wall that the Restaurant boom did two or so years back. Since downtown parking is completely broken, and our mayor and city council would rather pay for a hundred studies than do anything about it, the service industry is getting hammered.