Just two weeks ago we thought Thirsty Monk south was moving from Gerber Village to Biltmore Park. What a difference a few days can make. Owner Barry Bialik has decided to not only keep the Gerber location, but expand it.
“At first we didn’t think we’d be able to justify two locations [in south Asheville]. But we’re anticipating Biltmore Park will be a different crowd,” said Bialik. “Our regulars at Gerber really embrace us as the pub for that area. So we decided that the right decision was to complete the pub experience.”
In other words, Gerber village will not only be one of the best beer bars south of the parkway, it will also serve liquor and food as early as March.
“Liquor will be a small program,” said Bialik. “We’ll probably have a feedback session with our regulars. But we’re definitely planning for bourbons and other whiskeys, gin, and probably some vodka. Not anything huge.”
The kitchen will also keep it simple, but focus on quality. It will mimic the feel of the downtown kitchen by using beer in many of the dishes. It will also offer pub staples like burgers and pizza.
While the Gerber location transforms into a local pub, the Biltmore Park location is envisioned as more of a brewery-centric venue. “There’s nothing set yet, but we hope to have at least six to eight monk beers [out of 20 total] on tap at Biltmore,” said Bialik. “We hope it will have much more of a brewery feel than Gerber or downtown … with tanks visible from the bar.”
Speaking of downtown, changes are in the works there as well — thankfully, not to the existing first floor or basement. The top floor, previously nicknamed “Nuns on Top,” will soon open as “Top of the Monk,” according to Bialik. There are not many details yet on the liquor program, but Bialik hinted that it will echo the style of Thirsty Monk. In other words, “We’re definitely planning flights of bourbon the way we do flights of beer downstairs,” said Bialik.
Since all this is coming from a beer bar that was just named best in the state by RateBeer.com and one of the top 100 of 2012 by Draft magazine, it seems like we’re in for more of a good thing.
Follow Thom O’Hearn on Twitter at @avlbeerscout. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.