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Update: As of 5pm, Tuesday 8/23/11 Monkey is now open! Monkey Paw on Facebook.
If you’re reading this blog you probably recognize the name Scot Blair. If not you almost certainly will recognize the names of his drinking establishments: Hamilton’s Tavern, Small Bar and Eleven. Soon Downtown’s East Village neighborhood will have a new brewpub, courtesy of Scot Blair.
Monkey Paw will be located on the corner of 16th St at F St where the Jewel Box used to be. Blair says things are moving along well and he expects the bar and restaurant portion of Monkey Paw to open within 60-90 days in late summer or early fall. The interior space is being completely remodeled, with almost nothing remaining from before. When Monkey Paw opens it’s doors they’ll have somewhere between 35 and 43 taps, pub food similar to Hamilton’s and Small Bar with a great cheesesteak as well as quality spirits. But Monkey Paw won’t only be a pub like Blair’s other establishment’s, it will be licensed to brew on premise making it a brewpub. “A brewpub has always been what I wanted to go after,” Blair tells me as he explains the idea behind Monkey Paw.
The brewing portion of Monkey Paw will come sometime after the bar and restaurant portion opens, Blair says he hopes to be brewing by the end of the year but doesn’t yet know if it will happen. They’re still in the process of acquiring brewing equipment, which he tells me will be either a 7 barrel or 10 hectoliter (approximately 8.5 barrels) system. A brewer for Monkey Paw is lined up and they’ve been refining some of the beers they expect to brew at Monkey Paw on a homebrew pilot system but declined to name the brewer at this time. He did tell me the brewer is an award winning homebrewer, of which I have a guess or two as to who it might be, but won’t speculate right now. Beers brewed at Monkey Paw will get sprinkled around to other places, most likely Blair’s other bars and some beers might even make their way up the coast to LA or San Francisco, but not to expect the full lineup of Monkey Paw’s beers in one place outside the brewpub itself .
The downtown neighborhood’s have come a long way in terms of craft beer in the last fews of years and it looks like Monkey Paw will continue this trend with another spot to get great beer downtown in addition to quality cocktails and food in what Blair assures me will be an unpretentious environment that aesthetically looks different than his other bars.
Only time will tell what will happen with Monkey Paw and craft beer downtown, but if the success of Hamilton’s Tavern is any indication it could help turn Downtown’s East Village into a real beer destination as it adds to what is already there (Neighborhood and Mission Brewery).
Image via Monkey Paw’s Facebook Page