Small bites: How does your Bier Garden grow?

MUSICAL CHAIRS: Despite adding a performance stage and space for 50 additional seats, general manager Nathan Wardell says Bier Garden's capacity will remain at 287 persons. Photo by Kat McReynolds

How does your Bier Garden grow?

In nearly 20 years of operation, downtown Asheville’s Bier Garden has assumed multiple identities, rebranding the company’s look and feel to reflect demand. This year’s upgrade includes a second bar and a new cocktail lounge seating area, which management aims to unveil by late November.

“We always try to keep it fresh and keep it competitive, because Asheville is ever-changing,” says general manager Nathan Wardell, who notices that many patrons actually leave if they can’t find a seat at the bar. “That’s their preference. They want to sit down, have a small bite and bar hop,” he explains.

With the second bar comes a new drink menu, although Wardell says current offerings will simply be improved upon. He hopes to give patrons more rare, high-end liquor options since most Asheville haunts don’t stock $150 bottles of bourbon or tequila. Both bars will serve the same items.

Pub game staples like basketball, darts, the photo booth and several claw machines made the cut to stay, while disused games got “scrapped” during the renovation process. The bar’s new choice of entertainment, however, should sound better than any beeping pub game loop.

“We’re going to build a little stage and hopefully get a little bit more involved with the live local music,” says Wardell, adding that the venue will ideally host jazz and singer-songwriter types during the week and DJ’s on busier weekend nights.

“The good news for the local economy is we’re going to generate more revenue, we’re going to pay more taxes, we’re going to increase employment size, and I’m pretty sure it will jump our number of 52 employees to about 65 employees,” says the manager, speculating that developments will support about a dozen additional shifts per week.

Wardell plans to “work out the kinks” before scheduling a release party for the new bar and lounge to prevent speed and quality of service from being compromised during the transition. “It’s coming soon!” he promises.

West Asheville Tailgate Market fall feast

The West Asheville Tailgate Market will hold a tailgate-to-table feast on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The family-style meal, prepared by chef Amy Fariss of Nine Mile and Suzy Phillips of Gypsy Queen Cuisine, will showcase elements of both Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine using ingredients primarily sourced from market vendors. Accompanying the meal will be cocktails by Sovereign Remedies, local microbrews, tea and live music, with all proceeds from the $35 admission price furthering the tailgate market’s growth.

7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, The Hub (also known as Villagers), 278 Haywood Road. Tickets available at the West Asheville Tailgate Market (Tuesdays, 2:30-5:30 p.m. at 718 Haywood Road), the Hub and online at


Swannanoa Chili and Cornbread Cookoff

Southern hospitality meets southern cookin’ at Swannanoa United Methodist Church’s second annual Chili and Cornbread Cookoff, held Saturday, Nov. 8. The $5 all-you-can-eat admission ticket benefits local mission projects selected by cookoff sponsor United Methodist Women, and last year’s event raised over $300 for charity. For a $10 fee, at-home chefs can try their luck in a competitive arena where local celebrities will judge both chili and cornbread submissions based on the color, aroma, taste, consistency and aftertaste of each dish. 2013 winners Jerry Hubbard and Donna Gasperson are expected to defend their titles, so don’t forget to perfect grandma’s recipe before the weekend!

1-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, United Methodist Church of Swannanoa, 216 Whitson Ave. Information and tickets:

Tradd Cotter fungi forum

Author and mycologist (studier of fungi) Tradd Cotter will visit Malaprop’s Bookstore on Thursday, Nov. 13, to promote his latest book, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation: Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation. Cotter’s work distills years of research into best practices for low- or no-tech organic mushroom growing and reveals some surprising properties of the fungus, including mushrooms’ ability to reduce herbicide dependence and aid in toxic oil spill relief.

7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13, Malaprop’s Bookstore, 55 Haywood St. Information:

Plant-based Prevention of Disease Conference

North Carolina nonprofit group Plant-based Prevention of Disease, Inc. (P-POD), will hold its inaugural conference at UNC Asheville Nov. 14-16, to offer “an evidence-based look at how the risks of society’s major preventable diseases may be affected and reduced by certain plant-based approaches to eating.” The weekend’s events hinge around individual and panel presentations by distinguished professionals in the fields of cardiology, dietetics, cancer research and more.

Information and tickets: Specific presentation locations will be shared with registrants prior to the conference.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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