Westport’s new Bridger’s Bottle Shop is two operations in one

04/03/2014 5:42 PM

04/03/2014 6:04 PM

The partners behind the new Bridger’s Bottle Shop considered only one area of town for their new business — Westport.

“We like where the neighborhood is going, all the new restaurants and chefs, and its history and charm,” said partner Eric Flanagan.

The new operation, at the corner of Westport Road and Mill Street, is partly a bottle shop offering more than 600 cold brews for drinking on the premises or taking home. The brews are stocked in coolers by categories — dark lagers, Belgian lights, fruit ales, stouts, barleywines and more.

“Customers know what they like, so they can go right to the door and then maybe try some new ones,” Flanagan said.

It also offers rotating seasonal taps such as one current choice, a black walnut dunkel.

That’s not all.

Chef Alex Pope of Local Pig has opened Preservation Market within the bottle shop.

Preservation Market says it “celebrates” its pickles, cheeses and charcuterie “in salads, sandwiches and boards.”

Lunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and includes specialty salads for $8 (the No. 6 comes with marinated tofu, warm mushrooms, feta, arugula and almond spice crumble with a red wine vinaigrette), sandwiches for $8 (the No. 10 is a jerk chicken with Manchego, habanero crème fraîche


butternut pickles and a cashew and fig spread) and $1 sides — barley salad, cornbread or chips.

Dinner is offered from 3 p.m. to close and includes small plates (No. 6 is chicken wings, Nduja sauce and smoked cashews), shared plates (No. 14 is a combination platter of charcuterie, spreads, cheese, pickles and bread) and either a seasonal slice of ice box pie or cookie platter for dessert.

Regular beer dinners will be offered by Pope, as well as Preservation Market executive chef Andrew Heimburger and Bridger’s general manager and certified cicerone Erica Pyles. A cicerone certification recognizes proven expertise in beer selection and serving.

Flanagan, Aaron Beatty and Philip Thies are partners in Off Key Entertainment. They took over the space at 510 Westport Road in July and spent the last few months renovating it and bringing Pope on board. Bridger’s, which is named after legendary tracker and trapper Jim Bridger, opened Thursday.

America’s Pub had operated there for about two decades. It closed in late 2011 when its lease expired.

Bridger’s takes up about half the space and will have a grand opening celebration on April 26 with craft beer tastings and some special food items.

In the rest of the space, Off Key Entertainment plans this summer to open Off Key Karaoke Lounge Suites, an upscale venue with private karaoke rooms.

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