There's a sweet spot we strive for and it straddles the edge between tradition/history and the fresh and creative. When we hit it, it opens up the pipeline to a rich and complex past, connecting us to the traditions of generations before us, while keeping us squarely in the here and now by expressing our unique perspectives.
It sort of marries a Slow Food-like respect for tradition with a Grateful Dead-esque approach to inspired creativity. We as a culture are enriched by the celebration of our food and drink traditions. Those traditions bring us together, remind us of our shared culture, and help strengthen our sense of place and identity. Meanwhile, the Dead, especially Garcia, exhibited an almost pathological curiosity about music that helped build an encyclopedic set of mental references for use in real-time creative expression. That added emotional depth and cultural identity to in-the-moment improvisation.
Filtered through our little corner brewpub, this manifests in the beer when we reference and honor traditional brewing styles and methods while adding something modern and fresh to the conversation. And it manifests in the food program when we tie what we're doing here today, using our bounty of California-produced ingredients, together with the great cooking traditions of the pubs and beer halls of old. Too much of the past, though, and we become "Ye Olde Pub", too little and we miss out on our connection to the deep roots that add so much to the pub-going experience.
This week, as we remodel, we're trying to make the same ideas manifest physically in the pub itself. I love our building. It wears its 105 years of history quite well. There are a lot of period details (tile floor, woodwork, exterior tile) from the 1920's, when the space went from grocery store to pharmacy. Much as I've loved our mural, it became clear that it was drawing the eye away from the architectural details already abundant in our space. A team of brilliant and talented artisans is hard at work right now, gently reworking our room (and restrooms) to create a space that feels consistent with our other pub goals.
Signs of this new comfort are emerging today, via the wainscotting of the booths, the new tile in the restrooms, layers of new specialty paint treatments, and little but important things like the new tap wall. After a couple of days of tearing things apart, we've clearly turned a corner and are putting them back together.