I matriculated in the great state of Wisconsin and started my college beer drinking career with some nasty Point beer. We didn't know any better. But now, the kids who will be swarming the Seven Corners area, swathed in maroon and gold, will find themselves much luckier (and anyway more beer savvy than we were at that age) with the launching of a new watering hole.
Preston's Urban Pub is changing hands at the close of the month and will be relaunched as Republic, courtesy of Matty O'Reilly and partners. Matty started with the musically inclined 318 in Excelsior, and recently revived the Aster Cafe to booming success. Now it's pub time.
The space will be closed for a bit while the interior gets a light buffing (removing the myriad Miller Light signs, ditching the pizza buffet) and will reopen as a more focused pub featuring serious beer and intentional food.
A sneak peek at the beer list revealed six Belgians, four Germans, and twenty-two crafts, mostly local, no junk. All wines are sold by the glass for $8 or under, and no bottle is over $25. The menu showed small plates such as mussels, five-spice bbq ribs, and ricotta fritters; sandwiches and burgers including a slow roasted pork with queso fresco; salads and entrees such as bouillabaisse, poached eggs over squash hash, and a nice NY strip for when the 'rents come to town. That steak was the highest at $25, but majority of the menu hovers in the $10 or less area.
And it's important to know that Sheela Namakkal, the iconic Queen of Cupcakes who left our twin towns for Chicago not too long ago, is back in the kitchen at Aster and helping with the menu at Republic, including a dessert program that may or may not include $2 mini-desserts.
It's rather exciting, I think, to have potential generations of grads weaned on Surly and Kwak. Education comes in many forms.