The Velveteen Rabbit Lives

New Downtown craft beer and cocktail bar is set to open in March

dscn2227.jpgA visit to Downtown’s Velveteen Rabbit confirmed for this concerned cocktailian that while owners Pamela and Christina Dylag missed the slated late-January opening, all is well in hand. The diminutive craft beer-and-cocktail bar at 1218 S. Main Street is on track for the end of March, and judging by the look of things, it will be worth the wait.

Pamela says Space Cadets AV’s Benton Wayne and Brett Bolton (also of Kid Meets Cougar) are working on a video installation that brings to life a female figure vaguely discernable amid patterns left on the wall by a fire that gutted the furniture store that once occupied this space. Shellacking sections of the fire-scarred walls preserved the moody, organic patterns. On the opposite wall, designer Joel Spencer hand-stenciled a pattern in black and metallic green/gold. In the restrooms, shattered mirror walls took more than 40 hours for the Dylags and friends to meticulously arrange. Above the bar, acid-treated sheets of steel will be layered with vintage picture frames. And throughout the lounge, chandeliers are actually bouquets of Lucky Buddha beer bottles and mason jars.

Character is something this place already has in spades.

But the walls are not the only things receiving attention right now. With help from friend and mixologist Bryn Esplin, the Rabbit is in the menu development stage, with a number of signature cocktails being tested. The Resurrection cocktail, for example, capitalizes on the year’s beer cocktail trend, combining pepper-infused safflower oil, aged rum, Schlitz, lime and aromatic bitters. Punch by the cup is still in the works, as is a house bitters formula. Pamela shared that she and her sister might even introduce a bitters exchange program with other Downtown bars in the style of guest taps at brew pubs. It doesn’t get any more neighborly than that.