Bearded Goat bar planned for South End district

by Jeff Sykes

The grit of Greensboro’s South End is among the city’s most unique characteristics. For Seth Mapes, a veteran bar manager from Charlotte’s NoDa district, that grit and character is exactly what he wants to call home. Mapes, who most recently managed the Blind Pig bar in Charlotte’s North Davidson district, has plans to open The Bearded Goat, which will be what he calls “an artistic, classy dive bar” in a newly redeveloped building at the corner of South Elm and Lewis streets, right in the heart of a booming South End. Developer Eric Robert spent most of the first half of 2016 working alongside construction crews to renovate the building at 603 South Elm Street. The two-story building has two separate spaces on the ground floor and multiple offices on the second floor. Mapes will rent the roughly 1600 square foot back space, which has been refitted with large, smoked glass windows and a new patio space out back. Mapes and his wife, Casie, a Greensboro native, recently moved back to the city and bought a home in Lindley Park. “We are super stoked to be here and just ready to get involved with the neighborhood and be that place that people want to just hang out and have a good time,” Mapes said Thursday evening as we toured the nearly finished remodeled space.Mapes said he managed the Blind Pig bar for the last four and a half years. His large black beard and Johnny Cash t-shirt, along with a direct wit, convey the spirit he said will guide the bar: good pints, good times, good laughs. He described the concept as “artistic, tattooish, bearded fun.””We’re really going for the artistic dive bar aspect with some live music on weekends,” Mapes said. “We’re not going to do any food. We’ll do food trucks, which is cool.”

Mapes plans a bar along the length of the back wall, with floor-to-ceiling open storage.

“You’ll actually be able to see all of our dry storage–the extra liquor bottles and all that stuff,” Mapes said. “We’re doing a glass front beer storage. Everything will be stored from the back so it’s always going to be continuously fresh. You’ll be able to see everything that we carry just looking through the glass door.”The bar will feature a unique cocktail list, a wine and martini list and up to eight taps. A large community table will anchor the center of the room, Mapes said, with “nooks and crannies” for people to congregate.”When you’re hanging out, you might not know the person that sits next to you but then after a couple of drinks hopefully you’ll get to know them and share some laughs and share some times.”

Mapes said he fell in love with the space the first time he visited. “It just has this really cool getaway, escape kind of feel,” he said. “Then when you roll up the doors and go outside you have that gigantic Japanese tree that you can see from blocks away.”The inside will have what he described as an “Edison” feel, while the outdoor space will feature an extended deck into a recently built courtyard. The deck will lead down to a patio space, with room for games and a small area for one and two-piece musical acts.

Mapes came to Greensboro to meet developer Andy Zimmerman, who didn’t have space available to suit his vision. Zimmerman recommended Robert’s building, along with several others along Elm Street. Mapes said Zimmerman called Robert, who happened to be working that day in the space.”We came in and Eric and I connected like old kindred souls,” Mapes said. “Everything that he was doing, I just fell in love with; keeping the natural feel of the building and letting it, as Eric said, form itself. It will come to life itself. I fell in love with everything he was doing. We just clicked.”Zimmerman said that he had a couple of spaces that were likely too large for what Mapes had in mind. “When people come to me for downtown, I want to rent them property that I have. If it’s not a good fit, I want to introduce them to other people,” Zimmerman said. “A rising tide floats more boats, and that’s the way I feel about downtown.”Zimmerman said he recommended several buildings, including one owned by Jeff Yetter and one owned by Dawn Chaney at 310 S. Elm Street, which is currently being explored by the owners of Jerusalem Market for a second location. The expanding South End neighborhood will be a good fit for The Bearded Goat, he added. “Eric has done a great job with that building. It looks cool. Eric’s put his signature on it, which he normally does,” Zimmerman said. “Creating outdoor space is a big plus. Eric does a good job in creating more cool space downtown.”

Mapes said he hopes to open by Sept. 3. He said permits are still a work in progress and he expects to be able to upfit the space in 4-6 weeks once permits are in hand. “We are super excited to be here and I can’t wait for everyone in the neighborhood and in Greensboro to check us out and give us a chance,” Mapes said. “I think that everyone is going to love it. It’s going to be a home away from home.”