Draught Opens Just in Time for the Pantherâ€™s Season
I work and and live in the Third Ward area of Uptown. So, as you can imagine, DraughtÂ opening on Cedar St. is a Godsend. I had the pleasure of sampling the menu and select beers last during their media night last week, as well as attend their opening for the Panthers Vs. Bills preseason game,Â and was extremely impressed by the renovated space, the great hospitality, and the quality of food.
I drive past Draught multiple times a day, and poked my head in on several occasions to check up on the progress. Each time I did so, I was astounded by how quickly things were moving along. All the hard work and long hours have paid off, and Draught hosted a soft opening, just in time for the Panthers Vs. Bills tailgate. Described as an â€śupscale sports and craft beer bar,â€ť Draught features 34 craft beers on tap including local, domestic, and important brews and plan to eventually hostÂ daily cocktail and draft specials. I was happy to find everything from Goose Island IPA to NoDa Jam Session on the condensed list, specially compiled for the event. Iâ€™m excited to see what the full list of 34 will offer. This isnâ€™t your average sports bar. Expect slightly elevated prices, which makes sense once you see items such as Smoked Duck Tacos, Lemon Dijon Salmon Burger, and Hoisin Glazed Scallops on the menus. Though Draught offers many upscale offerings, they also have pub favorites such as House Nachos, Flatbreads and Chicken Wings. The wings come in a wide array of flavors such as Habanero Plum Stout and Cheer Wine BBQ Sauce, and can either be smoked and finished off on the grill or braised and finished in the fryer. According to the website, lunch and dinner menus will be updated seasonally and feature local, organic and sustainable foods â€śwhenever possible.â€ť They also have separate, condensed menus for game days and late night. During the event, I sampled the Fried Green Tomatoes which came herb crusted, smeared with goat cheese and were served with cut roasted chili aioli. Anytime goat cheese and fried green tomatoes are served together I seem to enjoy it, especially when served in such a heaping portion (seven!). Next came the House Nachos, a recommendation by our server. Smokey pulled pork, jalapenos, tomatoes, red onion, and house beer cheese piled atop house chips. The house chips and the pulled pork really made this dishâ€¦a must try if you find yourself cravingÂ something a little indulgent. I also sampled a bite of the Smoked Duck Tacos, stuffed with smoked pulled duck, pickled red onions, arugula, and house plum BBQ sauce. Admittedly, I am not a huge duck fanâ€¦or taco fan, but I found the combination of flavors to work well. Already uncomfortably stuffed from a few IPAs and heavy appetizers, I only had a few bites of whiskey and pineapple grilled chicken, as well as the Korean Bulgogli Lettuce Wraps. The entrees were not quite as impressive as the appetizers, though still very enjoyable. Obviously, Draught is still working out some kinks, which is expected for a restaurant so new. With 32 60â€ť+ HDTVâ€™s, hooked up to NFL Ticket, NBA League Pass, and MLB Extra Innings, Draught is destined to be a sports hotspot, especially with their proximity to Bank of America Stadium. Draught hosted another soft opening this past Friday for the Panther Vs. Bill preseason game and had the entire venue open. Let me tell you, there was nothing â€śsoftâ€ť about it. This place was packed with primarily 20-somethings shoulder-to-shoulder all competing to get a spot at the bar. They also had the downstairs space open, which contains another bar, additional space for seating, an open area for dancing, and more outdoor space where they had corn hole set up. About a quarter into the game or so, a DJ started playing, rather loudly, and things really started to take off. In the hustle bustle of the masses, I managed to order myself some wings. I got the Caribbean Jerk rubbed wings, smoked and finished off on the grill and they were absolutely superb. I was impressed with how quickly and easily I was able to get food, despite the chaos. I am not quite sure if this will ever be somewhere I go when I am looking for a nice dinner, but if youâ€™re looking for a place to watch the game, celebrate a pantherâ€™s win, or drink a few with some friends, Draught just might be what youâ€™re looking for.
Draught must have read my mind! Draught will be closed August 10-12 to “work out some kinks” and will reopen Wednesday, August 13.