Friday, April 8, 2016

Inglenook: A Look Inside Lincoln's Unique New Craft Beer Bar

Lincoln's beer scene has been on a war path to greatness as of late, and one of the new gems in town is little bar named Inglenook.  Located in the Haymarket at 728 Q Street, owners Matt Taylor and Diana Gutsche have created a place to enjoy good beer and conversation with great people in a relaxed environment.  The design is subtly bursting with character and well thought out details that are complimented by their top notch craft beer selection.  We got a moment to catch up with Matt to learn a bit more.

(Photo courtesy of Inglenook's Facebook page)

What was the vision behind creating Inglenook?

Inglenook was created because there was an opportunity to create an environment in a small space within a well known neighborhood. Also, Inglenook was created because it was very important for me to show my employees that there is room for growth in this industry. I have the benefit to employ many people that believe in our company culture and stay with our brand for a number of years. In order for them to pursue their professional career, we need to give them opportunities for growth. Unless I had a manager quit or get fired, there was no room for talented and motivated employees to cultivate careers. Inglenook focuses on craft beer first, but it also curates craft cocktails. There is an opportunity in this market for a bar that offers well crafted beer and cocktails in an adult environment. The fireplace, plants, lounge furniture and books are used to create an environment that feels like an extension of our home and family. My Uncle has a personal study in his house that I have always loved and is where the inspiration came for the decor. With the help of Loft and Craft, the inspiration became realized through all the beautiful furniture and antiques that help to create the cozy atmosphere in Inglenook.

(Photo courtesy of Inglenook and Joe Andersen of 4E Photography)

What are your backgrounds?

I was a business major at UNL and quickly after college learned that the finance industry was not a good fit. I opened Tavern in 2010 with a business partner and then later opened The Other Room in 2013. After experiencing the entrepreneur life I realized this was a much better fit. I love betting on my strengths and hiring people that are great at my weaknesses. Most of the business plans deal with finding people that are great at what they do and staying out of their way!

Diana has a well rounded career in the service industry. From humble beginnings popping popcorn and scooping ice cream to managing others in retail shops, bartending has proven to be where her passion lies. While working at the Blue Orchid she had her first experience behind a bar in 2005. Through the experience of using fresh ingredients and a wide variety of spirits she had the opportunity to build cocktails specific to her customers. She found joy in building relationships with customers, employees and others in the craft industry. She quickly outgrew the restaurant bar and sought out a job at a new bar, Jake’s Cigars and Spirits in 2009 where she grew into a management position quickly. Managing the bar at Jake’s Cigars and Spirits helped her to acquire a wealth of knowledge in craft beer, and craft beer came natural to her. The sense of community and the education involved in an ever growing craft beer industry creates an environment for her to learn and grow with other passionate people in the industry. Another opportunity for growth was provided when we asked if she'd like to work at The Other Room. It was a move away from craft beer, but a chance to find her future business partner. In a very short period of time we found that each others strengths would help in establishing a new bar in the Haymarket. Through education of product and personal relationships she creates a welcoming environment at Inglenook.

(Photo courtesy of Inglenook and Joe Andersen of 4E Photography)

Where did the name come from?

“Ingle” means fireplace in Old English, and “nook” is the area that holds the fireplace. Originating in medieval times, the inglenook was the room used to welcome guests and make them feel comfortable. As houses became smaller the inglenook developed into the hearth or kitchen area of the house. In Nebraska, sod houses had no separation of rooms. A guest was welcome to sit by the fireplace and make themselves comfortable. With our establishment, the customer makes their way inside our main building with the thought that they are walking into an office building. Once they open the doors to our establishment, they are greeted by a warm and cozy environment.

(Photo courtesy of Inglenook and Joe Andersen of 4E Photography)

What types of events can we expect regarding the craft beer program?

The beer program at Inglenook is modeled around education. There are so many beers available in the market now. The goal at Inglenook is to provide a variety of craft beers for customers to broaden their knowledge with every sip. 8 taps and 40-50 bottles/cans will help consumers experience a variety of different craft beers. There will be a number of events throughout the year focused on providing special release craft beer.

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