Westport’s new Bridger’s Bottle Shop — at the corner of Westport Road and Mill Street — will offer more than 600 different cold beers for drinking on the premises or to take home, and rotating seasonal taps.
But that’s not all.
Chef Alex Pope will open the Preservation Market within the bottle shop. It will offer such items as house-made pickled vegetables, farmhouse and imported cheeses, and Pope’s Local Pig meats and charcuterie. Lunch will include chef-driven sandwiches and salads, and the evening menu will have a selection of artisan breads, Local Pig meats, craft cheeses and pickled vegetables, with suggested beer pairings.
Regular beer dinners will be hosted by Pope, as well as Preservation Market’s executive chef Andrew Heimburger, and Bridger’s general manager and certified cicerone Erica Pyles. A cicerone (pronounced sis-uh-rohn) certification recognizes proven expertise in beer selection and serving.
“It was a good way to evolve our concept,” Pope said. “Our favorite things are cheeses, pickled vegetables and meats, cured and preserved. That’s where the name comes from.”
Bridger’s Bottle Shop and Preservation Market plan to open before St. Patrick’s Day.
Aaron Beatty, Eric Flanagan and Philip Thies of Off Key Entertainment LLC took over the space at 510 Westport Road in late July 2013 and spent the last few months renovating it and bringing Pope on board.
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 of the space and Off Key Entertainment plans to open another concept in the rest of the space by this summer.
The partners only looked at Westport sites, calling it their favorite neighborhood.
Bridger’s, both a bar and craft beer retail shop, is named after Jim Bridger. The Westport Historical Society says Bridger is often called the “King of the Mountain Men,” and the trapper and tracker got involved in Westport in the mid-1880s.
Westport is seeing an influx of new craft driven food and drink operations.
“It’s kind of refreshing for Westport. Chef run kitchens, all local money, all local operators. It’s a boon for Westport,” Beatty said.