The uptown Duckworth’s location features many levels.
There’s the second floor and its three beer coolers, each kept at a different temperature for different styles of beer. There’s the main floor, the one with 150 taps and almost as many televisions. And then there’s The Cellar at Duckworth’s, a dimly-lit, speakeasy style bar located beneath the busier floors above. Here, there’s room for only about 80 people to enjoy a different food menu, fresh-made craft cocktails, and beers from the cellar’s 20 taps.
There are bottles, too. The Cellar at Duckworth’s just opened its beer cellar, and it’s on another level. (Figuratively speaking, that is.)
The beer cellar is actually located just past the bar, separated by a wall of glass that allows patrons to peek in with envy at the bottles that fill the small room’s wooden shelves. There are more than 300 different types, including everything from sours (Wicked Weed, Cascade Brewing, Geueze Tilquin) to barrel-aged beers (Founders Brewing’s Backwoods Bastard, Mother Earth’s Silent Night, Olde Hickory’s Event Horizon, Lindley Park) to multi-year verticals of limited beers (Highland Brewing’s Cold Mountain, Fuller’s Vintage Ale). It will eventually hold up to 1,100 unique beers.
Diners can walk into the beer cellar and select these beers to be enjoyed at their table or at the bar. There are also a dozen small lockers in the beer cellar, should you want to stow away special bottles to pull out later when the company or occasion merits it (the bottles must be purchased from Duckworth’s, and no outside bottles are allowed).
The lockers hold 16 bottles and aren’t cheap at $240 for a year’s access, but should prove attractive for those wishing to impress. A few have already been sold to Carolina Panthers fans and a banking executive who wants to be able to share special selections with clients. The beers are kept at a constant 55 degrees, a temperature many consider optimal for aging beers.
The beer cellar was inspired by cigar bars that the Duckworth’s staff visited while seeking inspiration for the Cellar. The Cellar itself was inspired by the speakeasies of the 1920s, with a thick slab door leading into the dark, brick-lined pub. The building was actually built in 1912, and the speakeasy aesthetic comes across as genuine.
Where now sits a booth set into a wall, once stood a stage. In the early ’90s, musicians like Eric Clapton, Prince and B.B. King performed at Jonathan’s Jazz Cellar, located below Jonathan’s Uptown Bar and Restaurant. The folks behind the now-defunct Dilworth Brewing turned the building into Atlantic Beer and Ice Co. in 1994, and when they went out of business Fox and the Hound moved in. Finally, Duckworth’s Uptown opened in the space last March.
Tours of the new beer cellar are available upon request. The Cellar at Duckworth’s is open from 5 p.m. until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.