Every time I would ask about the status of Bosque Brewing’s Nob Hill taproom, I would be met with a grimace on the face of co-owner Gabe Jensen. “Ask me again later,” was his usual response. So imagine my delight Tuesday afternoon when he sent a short email saying that Nob Hill was opening today (Thursday).
No, really, it is opening today at 11 a.m. You can finally drink Bosque beer south of the Big-I. Rejoice, thirsty southern-side Burquenos, rejoice!
Amid the din of the final work all around us, I got a quick tour of the new location on Girard just south of Central from Gabe and co-owner Jotham Michnovicz on Wednesday morning. The staff was on hand beginning to set up the chairs and tables. The sweet marble bar top, freshly lacquered, was drying under the lights. Brewer John Bullard was in the back making sure the lines from the kegs in the walk-in cooler were ready to go once the taps were installed at the bar (after it finished curing). It was a hive of organized, yet satisfied people who finally, finally saw all their hard work coming close to fruition.
“This is like the culmination of plans for the last two years,” Jotham said. “It’s like when you put all these parts into motion, right? You know they’re going to come together at some point. And the puzzle is not fitting, it’s not working, it’s not quite there. And then all of a sudden you get that last piece and then you’re like, ‘Oh, we’re here.’ It’s done, it’s good, we’re up and running. That’s how it was with (Las) Cruces. That was like a couple pieces before the end and then oh, done.
“Look at what’s happening. We’re setting up chairs and tables. The TVs are in. The bar top is curing. I mean, it’s (today), we’ll have people in here drinking beer and eating food. It’s awesome.”
The setup in the old Hollywood Video building, just to the south of Mannie’s Restaurant and to the west of Walgreen’s, is relatively simple. Bosque gets the whole west half of the building, while another Wise Pies Pizza will take the east half some time down the road. Inside are tables, high and low, and four TVs hanging from the ceiling. The horseshoe-shaped bar is at the center under some rather ornate metal decorations. If you had back to the right, there are the bathrooms. If you head back to the left, they will politely ask you to leave the kitchen area and be patient, your sandwich will be ready soon. The walk-in cooler occupies the entire back (south) end. Outside to the north and west will be a spacious patio. Heaters will be provided during the current colder months, though in the spring, summer, and fall, it will likely become one of the best places to enjoy a beer in town.
The food menu will be the same as it is at the brewery on San Mateo north of Alameda. Gabe said they hope to have the same beers pouring at both locations as well.
“We’re really trying to eventually have it that it’s the same at all three taprooms,” he said. “Cruces is always a little bit different. Sometimes they’re ahead of us, sometimes they’re behind us.”
That is something that can happen with multiple locations. Some beer crowds will drink up one style faster at one location than another. Fear not, though, all of the crowd-pleasing regulars will be on hand from Scotia Scotch Ale to Driftwood Oatmeal Stout. The beers will be poured from 11 a.m. all the way to midnight.
As for the crowd, if I had to guess, it will be packed to the rafters. Judging by the reaction on Facebook, this is something the local beer crowd has been anticipating ever since it was announced Bosque was opening a taproom in Nob Hill.
Still, ask one owner, get cautious optimism. Ask the other owner, get unbridled optimism.
“It’s a horrible time of year to open a business,” Gabe said. “I feel like there will be some, I won’t say backlash, but some momentum lost because it took so long. But, I mean we’re in the smack dab middle of Nob Hill. I think it will be fine whatever it is. We’ll be ready for a zoo, we’ll be happy if one person walks in. I’m not worried about it, though.”
“But if you look at the questions that we receive on Facebook and from the questions that Jessica has to field on a regular basis, the overarching question is when is Nob Hill opening,” Jotham said. “So I think as long as we’re able to get that message out to people, that (today) will be a zoo. I think it will be.”
This, it should be noted, is quite the role reversal for these two.
“So this is the good thing, Gabe is usually the one that’s usually saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to be amazing, it’s going to be the best thing ever.’ I’m usually the guy saying, ‘Probably not, it may not be that great.’ So if I’m saying I think it’s going to be a zoo and he’s trying to hold back, I think it will be a decent opening.”
The original plan had been to open Monday, though the bar top was not yet ready and it was pushed back to today.
“If the bar top was ready we’d already be open,” Gabe said. “At that point, we’re like do we wait till next Monday? Well, that’s a lot of money to leave on the table, and we’ve been leaving money on the table for a while now. It’s time to go.”
On behalf of the entire Crew, especially those who have always had issues driving all the way to the brewery up north, we cannot wait a Driftwood south of I-40 for a change.