FARGO - Fargo Brewing is nearing the end of an extensive renovation to turn it into an entertainment and lifestyle destination.
A grand opening celebration is planned for Tuesday, April 20, with music from Minneapolis band Kind Country and the release of the craft brewery’s 1.21 Gigahops beer.
In addition to creating a new taproom, 610 N. University Drive will have a concert and events venue dubbed The Hall, a permanently installed “food truck” called Nova Eatery, the Nice Barber Co. barbershop and an intimate gathering space called The Lounge. A cafe is also planned, Fargo Brewing co-owner Aaron Hill said.
“It should be kind of cool. It should be kind of fun,” Hill said Tuesday, Feb. 15.
The brewery’s taproom has remained open, even as construction on the new taproom and the other spaces has been ongoing, Hill said.
The time between now and April will be hectic, Hill said, ticking off the projects that are still in process or near completion. An outdoor patio may have to wait, depending on how soon mild spring weather arrives.
Hill is “pretty stoked” about Nova Eatery, a trailer/food truck permanently installed at Fargo Brewery. Nova Eatery will be run by chef Ryan Nitschke and business partner Nikki Berglund, who also own and operate Luna Fargo and Sol Ave. Kitchen in Moorhead.
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Nice Barber Co. is separated from the food and entertainment spaces. It is spearheaded by another Fargo Brewing co-owner Jade Nielsen, and Ian Johnson and master barber Branden Ashmore.
(Fargo Brewing’s other owner is co-founder Jared Hardy.)
Next to Nice Barber is The Lounge, which will be available for meetings and other small gatherings.
The Hall event space is “going to be such a big thing for us, and for the community,” Hill said. “This whole project was based around the ability to have concerts inside. We just booked our first wedding dance for June. A lot of opportunities for that space. I think it will be cool.”
The building was built in 1941 as Fargo Tractor and Equipment, Hill said, and the renovation retains the industrial character of the building.
Nielsen, who also owns concert and events promotion firm Jade Presents, is excited about the possibilities for entertainment at Fargo Brewing.
“We‘re especially excited to get beyond COVID restrictions and back to doing semi-normal business,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen said the partners carefully studied the venues in the area. They wanted something larger than downtown Fargo venue The Aquarium and smaller than the Sanctuary Event Center.
“We’re looking to do something between 60 and 100 events in this space per year,” Nielsen said. “We’ll be doing some events that are seated, some that are more standing room, and potentially some cabaret style seating. We’re looking at a lot of different scenarios that we can utilize with this space and come to make it our own.” Nielsen said the parking lot has also been greatly improved to make it a much more usable space for concerts and food and beverage events.
“It feels great. I mean, it is a long time coming. We started brainstorming what we wanted to do with the building soon after I became a partner in the brewery, which was in early 2019,” Nielsen said.
There were some issues with solidifying financing, the partners said last July when the project was relaunched. Coronavirus pandemic issues also slowed the work down. Nonetheless, the result will be worthwhile, Nielsen said.
“It’s a relief. And I think the community is going to love it,” Nielsen said.
Hill said the additions to the building should meet the growing expectations of craft beer aficionados. Plus, with vaccines being distributed for COVID-19 and an end in sight for the pandemic, “the timing could almost be perfect.”
“We want people to come to town with friends and family,” HIll said. “We want to be kind of a cool thing. We want people to be proud of what we’re doing.”