FARGO - Fargo Brewing Company version 2.0 has arrived.
Local business people filtered into the craft brewery on Friday, April 16, to drink in the transformation of an underused warehouse space into a funky, modern taproom, concert facility, barber shop and more.
“We call this Fargo Brewing 2.0,” co-founder Aaron Hill told about 75 Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce members at a ribbon-cutting event that included food, entertainment and, of course, a sea of craft suds.
The brewery at 610 N. University now has a large new taproom with the main entrance on the south side of the building. It connects with The Hall, a concert and events center with its own bar; the Nice Barber Company barber shop; and a rentable meeting area called The Lounge. A food truck concept called Nova Eatery will be added in coming months and a cafe partner is still being sought, Hill said.
The grand opening for Fargo Brewing's revamped facility will be 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, with several bands scheduled.
The idea to create a destination brewery had been fermenting for a while with co-founders Hill and Jared Hardy. The concept got a further infusion when developer and concert promoter Jade Nielsen bought a partnership share in late 2018.
The project was announced in spring 2019, but finalizing financing took time and then the COVID-pandemic arrived, adding to delays in renovating the building, which began its life in 1941 as the home of Fargo Tractor and Equipment.
- Sandy's Donuts mulls expansion to continue delivery as demand rebounds
Looking around the spacious taproom, which was once nothing but raw concrete and cinderblock, Nielsen smiled.
“We’re getting there. The place looks great, feels great. Really, we knew we wanted a comfy, homey space and that’s what we got,” Nielsen said.
While the band Matty J & Friends warmed up on the The Hall’s stage, Nielsen opened some of the drapes covering the floor to ceiling windows looking out over North University Drive.
“This room is surrounded by glass,” Nielsen said. An artist is curating the art going up on the walls, he said. And visitors can get an eyeful of the production brewery.
Barber Branden Ashmore was breathing easier having raced to get the Nice Barber Company space finished.
“I feel a lot better now than two days ago,” Ashmore said, just before the ribbon cutting.
Ashmore will do some cuts for longtime customers at Tuesday night’s grand opening, but will take walk-ins starting Wednesday, April 21.
The Lounge, connected to Nice Barber is a rentable space for meetings, with comfortable furniture and patterned wood on the walls. “We’re all Midwestern, small-town guys. We wanted that feel of being back at the cabin,” Ashmore said.
Nova Eatery is still planned, but there is a pause on construction as Fargo Brewing and city officials figure out if it needs to be regulated by the rules for food trucks or for commercial kitchens, Nielsen said.
The target date to open Nova Eatery is early- to mid-summer.
Nova Eatery co-owners Nikki Berglund and chef Ryan Nitschke also operate Luna Fargo and Sol Ave Kitchen in Moorhead.
Nielsen said additional live events for this year will be announced at Tuesday's grand opening.
“We’re starting to see the live music engine roar, which is exciting for me, of course. Even though we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 situation, we expect to be doing a lot of events at the brewery through the end of the year, both outside and inside,” Nielsen said.
Hill grinned as he accepted congratulations after the ribbon cutting.
“It feels great. It’s been a lot of work," Hill said. He looks forward to a good summer.
“People are just ready to live their lives again, have a beer, and listen to some music,” Hill said.