Photos: Brian Sorensen
Core Brewing Co. opened its new Springdale location last Friday night to a raucous reception from area residents. The crowd welcomed the brewery’s second “Public House” to the city, and at the same time bid adieu to the taproom inside the brewery just a couple miles away. The move will free up more space for the bustling brewing operation.
Located at 101 W. Johnson Ave., the new pub is just a wiener dog jog from what used to be the heart of Springdale’s business community. Springdale natives – at least those over the age of 40 – can still remember back-to-school shopping at Cameron’s Jeans-N-Things and Ryan’s Department Store on Emma Avenue. Or perhaps they can recall eating salty popcorn at the popular hardware store just east of the railroad tracks, or even further back in time, taking in a movie at the Apollo Theater.
Emma’s heyday eventually ended, and downtown Springdale fell into a deep slumber as the majority of commercial activity migrated to the area immediately surrounding Interstate 540 (now I-49) on the west side of town.
Today Core joins a growing list of businesses that are playing a role in the revitalization of Emma Avenue and the blocks that surround. Over the past year Black Apple Crossing, The Steam, and Trailside Coffee Co. (which is next door to Core) have opened in refurbished spaces. Tyson Foods is also making a substantial investment in downtown Springdale with the conversion of the old Jones Truck Lines terminal into additional office space for the company. And more businesses are reportedly on the way.
Core’s new Springdale location joins its other brewery-branded pubs in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, North Little Rock, and one located inside Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. The first standalone Springdale pub opened in the Har-Ber Meadows area in 2015.
The brewery’s business model is unique among area breweries. Selling beer in its own pubs most certainly provides for higher profit margins than selling kegged, canned, or bottled beer to wholesalers. Those margins fuel the kind of growth that has allowed the brewery to expand to neighboring states such as Oklahoma and Tennessee. Aggressive growth seems to be Core’s calling card.
As far as the new Springdale pub is concerned, it has the same basic look and feel as the brewery’s other locations (though it seems substantially bigger). A long bar sits front and center, with ample seating and plenty of televisions to keep people entertained. A Ping-Pong table and multiple dartboards are available for those with a competitive streak. Couches provide living-room style lounging in front of a faux fireplace. A large patio is located just outside a rollup door, providing a view of the Razorback Regional Greenway. The trail runs through downtown Springdale and directly connects three of Core’s pubs. Exposed rafters and ductwork inside the building distinguish this particular location from the rest.
Founder Jesse Core once remarked that he wanted his pubs to be a place for people to “decompress” on their way home from work. With the number of people working in downtown Springdale on the upswing, his new location will no doubt be a popular stop for people craving a beer before they downshift to their nightly routines.