As the Canal Street streetcar line nears completion and a facelift to Carrollton Avenue enters its final stages, Brewhouse Grill (201 N. Carrollton Ave., 484-0525; www.brewhousegrill.com) also is undertaking some improvements and expansions just seven months after opening.
"Everything is starting to take off," says owner David Morrel. "We've got plans for a lot of things." Brewhouse Grill opened during road construction on Carrollton Avenue that saw concrete center barriers restricting traffic flow across the street and forcing most customers to go several blocks out of their way just to reach or exit the restaurant and bar. The barriers recently were taken down, however, and traffic flow is much more manageable.
"The construction on Carrollton has hurt us considerably," Morrel says, "but it's getting better." During football season, Brewhouse's projector TV screen and pleasant atmosphere made it something of a haven for sports fans -- especially during and after Saints and LSU games. During the off-season, the business is finding other ways to entice regulars and new customers into the fold. Live music from local bands playing everything from rock 'n' roll, funk, and rhythm and blues to acoustic guitar is scheduled on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. In addition, Morrel's crew will boil crawfish every Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. (all you can eat for $8). Brewhouse Grill will be open 24 hours before, during and after the Endymion parade, and for Valentine's Day is holding a special "Sinfully Single" promotion in which the club will give away four vacation trips in a Dating Game-formatted contest. Unlike Dating Game, however, winners don't have to take the vacations together.
On other fronts, namely dining and beverages, Morrel also is making improvements, such as offering Growlers -- reusable beer containers that customers can refill at Brewhouse and take home -- and it recently completed a high-tech brewing facility on the premises. Besides its signature Lagniappe brew, the bar also offers 12 different beers, mostly microbrews, on tap and 80 in the bottle. Diners will find daily lunch specials, such as baby back ribs, pasta dishes and catfish jambalaya on Fridays, and food is available into the wee morning hours: 2 a.m. most days and 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Within the next few weeks, Morrel says he will start offering breakfast and also has plans to stage jazz brunches on Sundays.
"It's like a whole new place all over again," Morrel says. "At different times we're different things. We get a lot of business people at lunch, and in the afternoon it's a happy hour spot. At night it's a dinner place, and after that it's a late-night spot.
"I really love this place," he says of the business' location a block off Canal Street. "I'm loving what's happening in Mid-City. The area is coming back, and I'm glad to be a part of it."
Flight of Fancy
The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) (900 Camp St.) will be decked out in all things avian-inspired Feb. 6 for its annual SweetArts Ball benefit, which this year will honor arts community supporters Raine Bedsole, Carey Bond, Richard Freeman, Donald Harrison Jr., Chris Owens, Councilman Oliver Thomas and Louis Wilson. Proceeds will be used to further the CAC's inter-disciplinary arts programming.
The theme of this year's costume/black tie ball is "The Birds & The Bees," a natural play on the CAC's winter exhibition Birdspace: A Post-Audubon Artists Aviary, which will be on display through March 21. The display is a collection of local and national bird-inspired art in a range of mediums. Local decorators and artists have worked together to design rooms on the nature theme for the ball, including "Garden of Eden," "Honeycomb," "Beyond the Clouds" and "Shotgun Wedding," where an Elvis-impersonator preacher will perform mock and real weddings.
Some 20 restaurants will provide food and drink for the fete, and there will be live music performances by blues and funk master Henry Butler, the rock 'n' roll band Invisible Cowboy, and jazz vocalist Phillip Manuel.
Tickets start at $75 ($50 for CAC members) for a "Night Owl" ticket to the ball, which is good after 11 p.m. The "Honey Bee" ticket is $125 ($100 for CAC members) and includes one ticket to the ball. "Lovebirds" tickets are $175 ($150 for members) and include a ticket to the ball and a ticket to a special party for this year's honorees to be held at a private residence. A "Birds Nest" package is $600 and includes four tickets to both the honorees' party and the ball. "Beehive" packages are $1,100 and include eight tickets to both events as well as seating in a special area.
For information and tickets call 528-3800 or visit www.cacno.org. Advance tickets also can be purchased at the CAC's Cyber Bar and Cafe from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Proceeds will be used to fund the CAC's multi-disciplinary arts programming.
It's Cookie Time
Girl Scout cookie fans rejoice. Pre-orders for boxes of the eight types of cookies being sold this year begin this week and can be made through a Girl Scout or the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana (733-8220 or 800-644-7571). Cookies, which are $3.50 per box, will be delivered on March 6 and will be sold at booths through March 21.
- Brewmaster Douglas Lindley oversees the state-of- the-art microbrewery at Brewhouse Grill.