By Sophia Carnevale
Arts and Entertainment Editor
After 37 years at its iconic Garden Street location, SLO Brew is on the move: The pub rolled its kegs around the corner to Higuera Street where owners also opened luxury short-term apartments above the new digs.
The successful business also plans to open a second establishment in late November near the airport called The Rock, a brewery where people can relax in their beer garden and listen to live music in a larger concert venue.
â€œAnytime you have such a nostalgic venue like SLO Brew […] thereâ€™s always mixed reaction to the changes,â€ said Johnny Kenny, event director. â€œDefinitely a lot of positive, though.â€
The Garden Street location had been a staple in the San Luis Obispo community for decades and was the first brewpub on the Central Coast since prohibition, according to the SLO Brew website.
Today, it serves as a downtown hub for local nightlife with lively events.
The Brew is most commonly known as a popular venue for concerts and as one that takes extra measures to feature its talented artists through special lighting and acoustics. Â
â€œIt sounds really great,â€ says Cameron Segel, a second year psychology major at Cuesta. â€œWith the tin ceiling and everything, you can tell they designed it with sound quality in mindâ€.
According to Kenny, sound was a key factor in the process of planning the new Brew.
â€œIt sounds really great in some areas but could improve in others,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s still a work in progress. Weâ€™re working with sound technicians to really hone in on those acoustics.â€
The Rock, which is currently in the construction process, will be a larger concert venue.
â€œWeâ€™re shooting for a 600 capacity venue [at the Rock] so that weâ€™ll be able to host some of the larger acts that come through town,â€ Kenny said. â€œBeing able to taste beer there and have the live music element is going to be so cool.â€
Kenny also says that concert-goers can look forward to a new lighting package that will compliment artists, wow audience members, and further improve the Brew concert experience.
Along with all the changes being made, the interior of their new location has been completely redesigned and there has been many re-vamps to the Brew experience.
â€œOur food has really been stepped up and we have a great new chef,â€ Kenny said.
One special element of having the larger brewery is that SLO Brew will now be canning all of their beers on site.
â€œThe first people to try our beers [were] at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver [early October]. The goal is to go international with the cans,â€ Kenny said.
As far as further expansion goes, the Brew doesnâ€™t have any plans set in stone yet for what will be next. Their Lofts are currently booking for future tenants and the tentative opening date for The Rocks is in late november.
Kenny and the rest of the staff have high hopes for the future of the Brew. And students are already enjoying the new digs.
â€œIt feels really homey,â€ said Phoebe Lam, a second year Cal Poly student. â€œThis is my first time at the new location, but I love how rustic and hipster it is.â€