When this place first opened in downtown Historic New Bern in December of 2014, I admit I thought it was a little stuffy. I felt like I had to be dressed nicer than I was (nice for me is a V-neck brewery t-shirt and jeans with no holes or bleach stains and Vans) and I felt slightly uncomfortable. It didn’t take me long to get over that at all. Trust me. Sporting a V-neck brewery t-shirt and jeans WITH holes or bleach stains and Vans is perfectly acceptable. I promise, no one will look at you sideways.
Located in the best spot in town, the interior itself is unique and tasteful. The place is just so chill. It used to be a wedding gown shop. Where beautiful gowns were once displayed in the windows looking out at the hallway type entrance, barstools now perch where I LOVE to sit and people watch. Even though it’s in the heart of downtown, everytime I go in there I don’t run into the same people, which is a nice treat. There‘s always the out of towners, the people spending the week in town on business, and of course the locals.
It’s so neat seeing so many people meet here for after work drinks. I’ve watched both white and blue collared guys mingle and treat each other like they are all of the same colored collar. It’s just really cool. The shop has picked up pizzas for tap takeovers, I’ve seen them provide cheese and crackers and such for their customers. Pick a delicious glass of wine off their menu or grab a bottle to take home with you. They always have excellent craft beer and cider on tap and the prices are absolutely the most reasonable in town. Not only is the draught menu always on point, the beer selection is awesome because all beers on the shelves are sold as singles so you can mix and match any of them which is always a winner. Nothing better than going home with new beers you can try without committing to a whole 4 or 6-pack, especially when you’re not sure you’re going to enjoy your random picks.
This is my all time favorite thing that they do. They gather beer that might be nearing the expiration date, or maybe it’s just beer that’s not quite selling or maybe just seasonal beers… but they put 6 of these in a brown paper bag and sell them for $10 as Mystery Bags. You don’t know what you’ll wind up with, but it’s craft beer!!!!! You’re not getting ANYTHING bad!!!! You’re definitely getting good beers!!!! This has always been fun for me because it makes me try something I typically wouldn’t pick up, or gets me to drink a beer that I haven’t visited in a long time. It’s even more fun if two of you get Mystery Bags and swap beer. Super great idea. I gotta hand it to these guys.
Gotta give a shout out to my favorite beertenders, Calli and Taylor. Both have been there since the beginning. I asked them today what their favorite part of working at The Bruin is. Calli said “I guess my favorite part is the discounts and the fact that the owner is pretty understanding and flexible. And the beer selection is good.” Taylor’s reply was “Giving customer service and learning about beer”.
Definitely go check them out next time you’re kicking it downtown, or go listen to some live music on a Friday or Saturday night. Whatever you do, don’t forget the mystery bag!!
PFP (Points For Pursehooks): 10 😁