South Main is finding a groove unlike any other place in Little Rock. Over the past 5 years the district has come together as a unified, collective group of locations that complement each other in every way. It is part of what attracted Rock Town Distillery to move from their original spot in what is now known as East Village to the South Main area according to owner Phil Brandon.
“I think it is a perfect spot for us,” Brandon says. “Everything that East Village is trying to be, SoMa already is. I am thankful for our time at the original location, but South Main really fits the spirit of what we want our next chapter to be about.”
The new location located at 1201 Main Street is set to open tomorrow (May 26th) for tastings. Not only does the SoMa area fit Rock Town, the new location fits perfectly into SoMa as well.
Once in the doors you are greeted with a much larger bar area. The centerpiece is the bar itself that uses barrel staves as the facade and features Rock Town bottles for the lights. Several of the tables are also made from barrel tops, it is no doubt this is designed to be a serious whiskey bar. It helps that their whiskey has won countless awards over the past several years.
On the bar side Brandon has hired a well respected bartender in Rob Armstrong. To start the bar will be similar to the old tasting room, but within a few weeks they will expand to feature cocktails developed by Armstrong.
“We plan to feature several classic cocktails as well as a few new creations,” says Armstrong, who is still finalizing the cocktail menu. “We will keep the simple 2 ingredient cocktails from the old Rock Town as well. We are also bringing in a couple of frozen machines, so we will have frozen cocktails soon as well.”
In addition to cocktails they will feature 6 beer taps, focusing strictly on Little Rock craft beer offerings. Currently beers from Rebel Kettle, Flyway, and Diamond Bear are hooked up. Brandon says he plans to add Core, Stone’s Throw, and Lost Forty by opening.
The bar space easily seats over 100, a huge upgrade from the couple dozen that they could cram into the old spot. It has much more of a quality bar feel with comfortable seating, dim lighting, and vinyl records planing. It should be a place that is popular for both a solid drink before dinner and to relax a bit with friends.
In addition to the main bar, they also will continue to offer private events in the barrel room. That too has a significant size upgrade, and will allow for more storage and capacity for events.
Overall the building itself is huge, taking up nearly a half city block. This gives Rock Town some space to breath and expand as the business grows. After eight years in the old location they were packed literally to the rafters in some spots. Now they have room to add an extra still, hold more inventory, or hire more people in addition to the expanded front facing side.
Rock Town Distillery will have a limited soft opening this Saturday featuring tastings. Over the next couple of weeks they will add the full bar menu and fully resume tours of the new facility. They are planning to hold an 8th anniversary party to fully introduce the new space in mid-June, so keep an eye out for that information.