Rabbit Rabbit is operational as of Aug. 27. The acre-plus open-air event space, a joint venture between Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. (whose Coxe Avenue location is next door) and The Orange Peel, was set to debut in early June with shows featuring Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine and Calexico (June 10) and Vampire Weekend (June 12), but had its opening postponed due to pandemic-related restrictions. The lone major concert currently on the schedule is Australian rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard on Oct. 25, 2021, but outdoor movie screenings and small evening concerts will be announced over the next week or two.
“One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about our business is constantly developing and redeveloping and making little microchanges all over the place, and this one’s going to take a lot of those,” says co-owner Mike Rangel. “[The delayed opening has] given us the opportunity to see what the present and near-future of outdoor dining and outdoor entertainment is going to look like. We’ve been able to shift on the fly.”
In addition to small but significant changes, like moving the location of the AVL Taco Co. food truck from its opening night setup to allow for more space and gradually replacing plastic cups with stainless steel tumblers to be more environmentally conscious, Rabbit Rabbit decreased its capacity from 3,000 people — which Rangel says “feels icky right now” — to a temporary maximum of 300 customers at a time.
The colorful, spacious and family-friendly venue is open Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Various cocktails and local beers are available to purchase from the renovated former Wells Fargo bank teller window. For the time being, parties are limited to no more than six people, and masks must be worn to enter and kept on at all times when not seated at one’s table, which customers are encouraged to reserve via the Open Table platform. Limited walk-up spaces are also available.
Rangel notes that the pandemic-minded safety policies within the outdoor space have resulted in positive comments from patrons, including some locals who made Rabbit Rabbit their first social outing since March. And as the endeavor continues to find its footing, he says to be on the lookout out for creative programming from the entertainment businesses collaborators.
“We’re excited to bring something fun to downtown,” Rangel says. “The Orange Peel events folks have been a phenomenal partner. They’re just as fun and crazy as we are and they have mad ideas, so it was definitely a great partnership.” rabbitrabbitavl.com