Asheville is getting a new laundromat bar courtesy of Sean McNeal, a jack-of-all trades whose credits include firefighting and filmmaking.
The new bar will be called the Bar of Soap and will be located at 333 Merrimon Ave., where Chameleon Soul Food used to be. The business will occupy roughly 3,800 square feet and will feature a book exchange, video games and a bar (with beer and wine only) as well as locally brewed kombucha on tap.
The Bar of Soap will open at 8 a.m. seven days a week to facilitate early morning laundry drop-off. McNeal also adds that the building has about 20 parking spaces, perfect since it’s likely that none of his patrons are going to be lugging bags of laundry on foot to the bar.
McNeal says that the size of the building and its location near UNCA is also ideal for his concept. "It's three suites, side-by-side, so the laundromat will be on one side, the bar in the middle, and on the far side is going to be where the lounge is, which is also going to be the book exchange, where I'll buy, sell and trade used books." The building will also have free wi-fi and a Playstation or two, he says.
Only a small amount food will be available at first — wraps, sandwiches and sweets, says McNeal. But the building is equipped with a full-scale kitchen that can eventually accommodate a broader menu. For now, McNeal says he's just focusing on getting started.
The Bar of Soap will open some time in October.