The Wooden Nickel was packed with friends of the pub and regulars on Thursday, July 5 – except this time, everyone had a little bit more elbow room.
The original Wooden Nickel Pub wrapped up over 15 years of history at their old location on Sunday, July 1. They took two days to get situated in the new space just two doors down, took some time to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday, and came back in full force as tables overflowed with community members eager to check out the expanded Nickel.
“[Sunday] was bittersweet,” owner Matt Fox said. “We had a packed house all night, a lot of locals and regulars coming in to get their last taste of that place and tell some old stories and kind of send it off on a high note.”
The Nickel, a community centerpiece with hearty friendships much like one could find in festivities in the Shire, seems to remain the same despite a change of venue.
The space was so beloved that some regulars were skeptical of the move, wondering if the tight-knit community space would be lost in a space not so tightly packed.
The old Nickel amounted to a whopping 975 square feet – kitchen, storage, bar, seating, and all. The new space is practically a mansion for old Nickel-goers: 2,100 square feet. It may sound like this two-fold increase is a lot, but the kitchen and storage received most of the expansion, though seating did increase by at least 50 percent.
The taps have expanded too; instead of 11 draft beer selections, patrons will have 18 to choose from. The menu is just the same, though they might add some new options in the future.
If you frequented the old Nickel, you might notice that the Nickel 2.0 carries most of the old wall decor, but has added a few new pieces.
They intentionally left some space for new knick-knacks to be tacked up – this place has to create new memories.
Local artist Balasz Szabo was commissioned to sketch some Hillsborough characters. He finished those pieces about 2 years ago, but with more wall space, the Nickel was finally able to paste them up for the community to see.
“A lot of the people who’ve been coming in here for the last 15 years, I guess they were hesitant that we’d be able to make it feel the same and feel like the Wooden Nickel, just in a bigger space,” Fox said. “But everyone I’ve spoke to seems pretty happy with the space. So there was relief in one sense but obviously we’re really excited for the town and for the regulars and for our staff as well.”
Owners Fox and Dean James were a highlight of the opening celebration and anyone with kind words had to wait in line to congratulate them on the new endeavor.
Though the old space is empty, Fox and James said the space needs to rest a little before anything replaces that historic spot.
They’ve got a million concept ideas floating around, Fox said, but no clear direction on what they’ll end up doing with it.
For now, they are focusing on keeping the Nickel the same vibrant community hub for great craft beer selection and their classic wings and tater tots.