By Helmut Schmidt
FARGO - Fargo Brewing Co. will be turning its brewery and taphouse into an entertainment destination over the next four months, partners say.
The northside brewski birthing place will be transformed into a hoppin’ hipster hub with the addition of a food truck/kitchen area, a Stumbeanos Coffee Bar, and tattoo and barber shops, developer and brewery partner Jade Nielsen said Thursday, March 21.
If eats, drinks, trims and tats aren’t enough, the 21,600-square-foot main floor of 610 N. University Drive is also being reconfigured to have a stage and events area inside, as well as an outdoor stage and concert area.
All of this without stopping production of Fargo Brewing’s alcoholic elixers.
The brewery and taproom will be joined by Red Buffalo Barbers, Zoltar Tattoo and Stumbeano’s Coffee, along with a not-yet-named restaurateur to operate the food truck, which will be embedded in the building.
Nielsen said the barber and tattoo artist are “the best of the best,” but they have declined to have their names released until they have fulfilled their current commitments.
The existing taproom accommodates about 80 people.
The reconfigured multi-use space will be able to hold about 400 people for concerts and other events, such as weddings or private parties, Nielsen said.
The project, expected to cost $700,000 to $800,000, includes adding a sprinkler system and replacing the current heating system with a new HVAC system to provide good air movement and air conditioning.
Nielsen said the concept has fermented with him for a decade. Fortunately, it’s something the founders of Fargo Brewing were also mulling.
Nielsen has booked acts for the founders of Fargo Brewing since they brewed their first commercial batch in 2010. (They moved to their current home in 2013.)
The relationship grew tighter in November 2018. That’s when Nielsen bought an ownership share in Fargo Brewing, “and immediately, we started talking about a combination of things.”
Fargo Brewing co-founder Jared Hardy said he looks forward to the brewery and taproom taking on new life.
“It’s awesome. We always knew this building has more potential,” Hardy said.
“At this time, we’re open to anything. Something creative. Something fun. Something that pairs well with beer,” Hardy said.
“We really like the concept of being able to offer that year-round food truck,” Hardy said.
And it doesn’t hurt to have something available if your mother-in-law drops by.
“My mother-in-law likes beer, but she really likes coffee,” Hardy said.
The revamped Fargo Brewing will have 16 taps available for people to slake their thirst for suds. Hardy looks forward to giving local craft beer aficionados good music to go with good beer. At least 40 events annually are expected for the venue.
The first shows in the music venue will be the Allman Betts Band on Sunday, Aug. 11, and the Reverend Horton Heat with Delta Bombers on Aug. 12.
Some light demolition has already taken place, with the offices moved to a different location. The fermentation tanks and other large pieces of equipment will stay in place, but storage for raw materials and finished product will move as each phase of the multi-phase project moves ahead.
Greg and Jenny Stumbo, owners of the Stumbeano’s Coffee Bar in downtown Fargo, will provide the jolts of java.
“I think it’s just a unique concept that I’ve seen in other communities,” including Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore., Greg Stumbo said. “It’s a unique partnership. It was kind of a neat opportunity.”
Stumbo already provides coffee for Fargo Brewing employees, and has worked with Nielsen at the Bluestem Center for the Arts in Moorhead, so they are “pretty much on the same page,” with the concept, he said.
Stumbo said that with the lease for his downtown shop coming to an end, the timing is right. It doesn’t hurt that the area is close to downtown, underserved for coffee and has good traffic.
“We’re looking forward to developing the concept,” Stumbo said.
Across the street from Fargo Brewing, on the northeast corner of 7th Avenue and North University Drive, construction of the 701 restaurant, which incorporates the old Rosie’s Laundromat building at 701 N. University Drive, is planned for this year. Nielsen is also a partner in that project. It is targeted for completion by December.
During the Fargo Brewing renovation, the main entrance will be switched from the west side of the building to the south side. The south side of the building will have large windows installed to bring in the sun to the taproom, as well as sliding garage-style doors that can be opened when the weather is fair.
The northeast part of the building will house the stage and entertainment area. The coffee, barber and tattoo shops will be located around the border of the taproom. The brewery will take up the western and a share of the northern parts of the building, but customers will still be able to look on as their beer is made.
“You’ll know you’re in a brewery,” Nielsen said. “The building really lends itself exactly to what we envisioned.”
Fargo Brewing also has an Ale House at 4445 17th Ave. S., Fargo.
This article appears in its entirety on InForum.com.