New bar takes over previously abandoned Mellow Mushroom location

By Rachel Reap
Staff Writer 

TUSCALOOSA – While most Tuscaloosa bars offer much of the same experience, the new Grocery Brewpub plans to take the bar scene by storm with its unique three-in-one concept.

Located in downtown Tuscaloosa on the corner of University Boulevard and 23rd Avenue, the Grocery Brewpub plans to open soon in the long vacant ex-Mellow Mushroom location. 

Rayford Cook, the original Grocery Brewpub owner in Homewood, Alabama, bought this iconic building to be home to the second Grocery Brewpub. Cook attended The University of Alabama as a nursing student years ago. In a previous interview with the Tuscaloosa Thread, Cook said, “I always said I would retire here.” 

The bar is split up into three areas, each with a different concept. This unique three-in-one idea makes Grocery Brewpub stand out. 

The main floor is home to a bar and dining space, which serves craft beer and specialty cocktails with a sports bar-style food menu. The menu will include some out-of-the-ordinary specials like an alligator-beef fusion burger, cajun and creole cuisine, and much more.

The next area upstairs is a high-end bourbon bar and lounge located on a balcony overlooking the lower dining space. The bourbon bar contains a curated collection of top-shelf bourbons, including a few rare selections you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Tuscaloosa. 

“[The bourbon bar is] definitely the best part of the bar in my opinion because it’s the only one in town with this setup,” said Keyton Elmore, a bartender at Grocery Brewpub.

The third floor is the largest area of the brewpub. The space will have three to five billiards tables, a darts area, arcade games, and lots of furniture for socializing. Apart from being a bar, lounge, and recreation space, this area will also be used as a venue space to rent for events.

Also on this floor is a New Orleans-styled balcony that overlooks 23rd Avenue and provides guests with the perfect area to get some fresh air or smoke a cigar. 

“I am excited for Grocery Brewpub to open. After attending Alabama for the past four years and going to the same bars, I am very interested in going to a bar that is unlike all the others,” said Justin Gilbert, a senior student at UA. 

The Grocery Brewpub was initially set to open in early March, but the opening date has been pushed back to April 17 of this year due to many difficulties. 

“The owner has been busy working with the city and contractors to open. We have had delays with construction and city requirements for the building,” said an employee of Grocery Brewpub.

The new brewpub will have a little bit of everything and is the perfect place for someone looking to shake up their usual bar routine. With the grand opening coming up this weekend, the Grocery Brewpub will definitely be the place to be.