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Burl Brew to join Burl entertainment campus

Burl Brew, a bar and distillery located on the Burl campus, will have its grand opening on Friday, March 1 after the three-year project’s completion, co-owner Cannon Armstrong said.

The new addition to the Burl’s campus will sit adjacent to its arcade and music venue. 

Armstrong said the Burl started with the music venue, and music remains “the center of the Burl’s universe,” but after adding the arcade, they wanted to do something new.

“Beer has always kind of been something that we felt would work,” Armstrong said. “And when we found the right people, we found the right brewer, we found the right managers, we found the right space and the right idea … we pretty much at that point started laying it out.”

He said everything they’ve done with the space is exactly how they laid it out a year and a half ago. 

Upon approaching Burl Brew, patrons will be welcomed by a large, lit sign on the roof reading “Burl Brew.” Inside, the brewery features warm-colored wood and black industrial-style seating. 

The bar showcases a stained glass light fixture and custom tap handles.

Sun shines through custom stained glass draft tap handles on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at the Burl Brewery in Lexington, Kentucky. The Burl opens their newest addition, a brewery, on Feb. 29. Photo by Matthew Mueller | Staff

Attached to the bar seating area is the brewing facility. With a glass front garage door, patrons can see two rows of brewing kettles and Burl Brew-branded kegs.

“So, it’s just another addition to our little campus here and it pretty much fills out our campus at this point. I don’t know how much more we could do here,” Armstrong said.

He said that without categorizing the brewery too much, it will be a “sports- and viewing experience-focused space.”

To uphold the vision, they wanted to serve light beers, like lagers and pilsners, and heavier options, such as IPAs and dubbels, a Belgian-style dark beer. 

“The idea is that we want people to come out here and spend, you know, several hours on the property,” Armstrong said. “Whether they want to see a show … go to the arcade or whether they’re not into either one of those things and they just want to come down here and watch their favorite teams play.”

He said they want the scene to be more of an experience and for patrons to feel like the space is more than just a brewery.

With people drinking beer, they want to eat, so they had to have food, Armstrong said. 

With a new concept and their previous food supplier leaving, he said they were looking for something that’s typical bar food, but also something that is “quick and elevated.”

Burl Brew landed on locally- and family-owned Lucy’s Kitchen.

“They just had a really great food truck that we appreciated and we just loved their overall energy,” Armstrong said.

The food will consist of wings, burgers, quesadillas, tacos and fries.

In addition to the sports-focused scene, Armstrong said he also wanted the space to feel like a lounge.

He said they have pool tables and will have a large outdoor patio with cornhole and darts.

“We want it to be somewhere where they walk in and … they don’t just see one thing,” Armstrong said. “They’re in a room that’s very well done or at least we hope they think that, and then they’re like ‘OK, I’m going to eat here, I’m going to play some pool, I’m going to check out the lineup of beers.’ We don’t want it to be a one-trick place.”

Despite detailing and entertainment features, Armstrong said they tried to keep costs low when building the brewery, and they did most of the work themselves. 

Some of the work included building the bar with the help of their friends.

“That’s always how we’ve done everything,” Armstrong said. “Not everything is perfect, not everything is square and plumb as it should be maybe, but you know we made it, which is always a feeling we take pride in.”

He said there will be a soft opening with friends and family in a couple of weeks, but on March 1 it will be “out the gate as fast as we can, just go, see what happens.”

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