Bubba Brews Brewing Company is coming to downtown Hot Springs. The craft brewery has announced it will open a taproom in the former Bank of America building at 528 Central Ave., which is across the street from the south end of Bathhouse Row. For owner and head brewer Jonathan Martin, the new taproom fits right in with his original idea for Bubba Brews.
“I’ve always wanted to be in downtown Hot Springs,” says Martin. “I grew up in the area, and I just thought it would be a great addition. I also wanted a place I could call my own to some extent, a place where I’d have a lot of the input on the décor and menu.”
Once it opens, Bubba Brews Hot Springs will have indoor seating for about 120 people and additional patio seating for 75. Martin envisions a robust menu with a handful of entrees and a bigger collection of small plates and appetizers. Martin got the inspiration for the taproom from a trip to Great Britain.
“We’d like to do an English-tavern type of taproom, with dark wood tables and leather couches,” says Martin. “We want it to be a place where people can come and hang out. It will be a full-service restaurant. We wanted it to be a place where you would feel comfortable to hang out for a couple of hours, just a really relaxed atmosphere.”
The menu at the Hot Springs taproom will be crafted by Tyree Porter Montgomery, who formerly worked at The Next Level Kitchen in Hot Springs. Montgomery will prepare the new menu and later work at Bubba Brews third Arkansas location, a dockside restaurant on Lake Hamilton.
Construction at the Hot Springs taproom will virtually be done from scratch. The original teller countertop will become the bar area. The kitchen will be built in the space that was used by the accounting department. The walk-in vault is staying intact and will become a private dining room with a single, long table perfect for private parties and business conferences.
As for the timing, Martin says he would like to be open by sometime in May. However, that is contingent on everything with the build-out and permitting moving along relatively quickly. Bubba Brews is keeping its brewing operation going in Bonnerdale, though it could have a very small brewing system in Hot Springs to create special beers just for the taproom. Martin says he thinks the Bubba Brews taproom will be a positive addition for the downtown area.
“We’re really excited about it,” says Martin. “We’ve had our eyes open looking downtown for six or eight months. We’re going to try to make it something a little different from anything that is downtown. We feel like we’re going to put our spin on it and try to make it something unique.”