|B2 Taphouse from Sidewalk: Not oriented to Commercial Street|
In Salem, both Santiam and Gilgamesh have sited in industrial areas, though they are not super walkable. Although the McMenamins are known for their preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings - like Thompson's and Boon's, which are more walkable - they also have a few older pubs in strip malls. The growler fill business, as opposed to the pub or brewing business, has been popular elsewhere, but perhaps because of craft beer's reach here, Oregon has been slow to catch on. But it's happening now, and it's happening in Salem. And at least in one instance, it uses a strip mall configuration.
|Draft Morningside Neighborhood Plan|
|B2 Taphouse Site on South Commercial; Drive-thru bays|
in center of building on both sides
|Side of B2 Taphouse: |
Configured for Drive-Thru (just to the right of image edge)
and no Sidewalk
In back, there's a little wisp of a sidewalk and part of it is cordoned off for outdoor seating.
|Back of B2 Taphouse: Front Entry on Back Parking Lot,|
More importantly, with all the energy directed inwards toward the parking lot "courtyard," this configuration seems unlikely to be something people walk to in significant numbers, not a "neighborhood" pub in any meaningful sense. It's a driving destination - growlers "to go."
The small outdoor seating at the French Press and Venti's Taphouse show that it is possible to work a compromise with South Commercial - but it's not easy. And even Venti's Taphouse is auto-oriented, and there always seems to be more bikes downtown than at the South Commercial location.
Word of Mouth and the Broadway Coffeehouse are more like "neighborhood pioneers," walkable establishments in neighborhoods that are being reenergized (and, yes, also gentrified). But these are older, streetcar-scaled neighborhoods with traditional street grids. What about newer parts of town with business development restricted to busy, busy arterial roads (many of them stroads)? Are we seeing here the development of a Salem-styled, auto-oriented brewpub culture?
The combination business of pub and growler fill could have leveraged more walkable building forms on Commercial or elsewhere in the city. But at lease these entrepreneurs didn't see future growth on that side, and instead saw the growth in auto-oriented business. So at least for the moment, development looks back to the 20th century rather than forward to new urban forms. It will be interesting to watch other developments.
Redevelopment at the old Weathers Site
On one of the other corners by French Press and Venti's, the old Weathers Music Store has been knocked down, and the empty lot awaits redevelopment.
|The Old Weathers Music Store Lot on S Commercial|
Can the parking be put in back of a new building?
(click to enlarge)
With the proximity to the French Press and Venti's, and several other restaurants nearby, as well as the forthcoming Acme Cafe, with principals from J. James and Wild Pear, coming to a site just one block south of here, this intersection and area has tons of possibility to be a restaurant row for middle South Commercial (as distinct from outer South Commercial).
What will the Weathers redevelopment look like and what opportunities will it seize or forgo? Stay tuned!