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HOOTS AND HOLLERIN’

by Britt Chester

What is going on down in the End of Winston-Salem? More specifically, what is going on with Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co. and The Porch? Some sporadic and ill-timed banter spread through social media in the past week like wildfire, but no major announcements have been made from any of the sought after sources.

So we’ll start the narrative where we picked it up: Hoots Bar shares the same building as The Porch, a cantina that serves Mexican-American food. The same building houses a gym, a distillery, Sutlers Spirit Co., and The Olio. During the summer months, Hoots holds a flea market in the green space between the building that houses the bar and a neighboring, dilapidated warehouse (that is set for reconstruction in the near future.)

When Hoots originally opened, there was a skateboard ramp set against the wall of an empty garage-size building on the same property. Sunday became a popular congregation spot for local skateboarders to practice in the parking lot while enjoying beverages from Hoots. No problems.

Or so it seemed. For whatever reason (probably griping from neighbors about skaters in the parking lot making it difficult to park, or being in the way, or whatever”¦ it’s all hearsay at this point) the skateboard ramp was removed. Sucks for the skateboarders.

The ramp wasn’t commissioned by Hoots, but seeing as Winston-Salem is a small town and a lot of people know a lot of people, it was OK with everyone that skateboarders would hang out, drink beer and skateboard.

The ramp was removed, though, and all that was left was an eight-foot marble ledge pushed up against the wall around the corner of the small building where the ramp once sat.

If skateboarders in this town know one thing, it’s how to have a lot of fun with next to nothing “” a situation that could be resolved if the city would just build a damn skate park. Nevertheless, Hoots on Sundays was a haven for skaters looking to wind down the weekend with some cold brews – occasional pop-up shop style food from Matt Pleasants, chef at Honey Pot in downtown Winston-Salem “” and some friends.

Last week, a photo of the broken ledge appeared on Facebook and the rumors started to fly.

Early rumors stated that it was sledge hammered by Dewey Anderson of Blackpine Developments, a developer behind the big renovation happening in what is now being called the West End Mill Works (cue the abbreviated “WeMiWo” nickname that will take hold when it becomes large enough for some area hipster to compare it to any sort of gentrification in New York.)

Anderson didn’t sledgehammer the ledge, but it did break in the move. Does that stop skateboarders? Not at all. Hoots is a congregation point for people who tire of the downtown parking and who enjoy sitting in the grassy area that flanks Hoots.

But, uh oh. Apparently, that grassy area has now been, or is in the process of, designated for the liquor license of The Porch. It was also overheard that The Porch owns the small building in the parking lot where the ledge and ramp used to sit, and that they might be turning it into a bar. A bar? Why would The Porch need a bar? Oh, right, the overflow from The Porch typically fills into Hoots, where The Porch proudly delivers food to, and where waiting patrons can try local beer. But will all that change?

Triad Business Journal reported in 2013 that all businesses in West End Mill Works signed five-year leases on the space, and being less than two years into that lease, it seems that contract has taken a Draconian turn for one of the founding brands. !

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