Casual Animal Brewing’s expansion started when brewery owner Kyle Gray was taking out the trash two years ago.
“One of the women that works behind us was out there and asked if I knew what was going on, and I said, ‘No—what’s up?’ She told me that the next-door space owners were retiring,” he says. Kyle, who operates Casual Animal with his wife, Lara, had been eyeing the warehouse next door since they closed on their Crossroads brewery space in the summer of 2017. The previous owners had owned the warehouse for fifty years and primarily used it for storage.
Now, the skylight-vaulted ceiling space is open as an extension of Casual Animal’s original taproom, equipped with a second bar, spaced-out seating, vintage floor rugs and garage doors—perfectly timed during a period where people are itching to get out but don’t want to sit in a crowded bar.
The design aesthetic of Casual Animal’s new space needs no Instagram filter: The colorful mural artwork was done by Kyle himself (he worked as a designer for twelve years), and a few of the tables and furniture pieces were built with the help of Kyle’s carpenter-contractor brother. Plants that canvas the room were propagated by Lara, the cuttings of which she says come from a conglomerate of generous friends and neighbors, and they represent “a community coming together to make the taproom feel alive.”
“There’s been a lot of positive feedback with that new side,” Kyle says. “It’s only been open for a few months and it already feels like it was an appendage we were missing before.”