MOREHEAD CITY — More than a year after Hurricane Florence caused extensive damage and forced it to close for repairs, Tight Lines Pub & Brewing Co. in downtown Morehead City reopened Friday with an updated look, revamped menu and a new line of beers.

Tight Lines owner Russell Lewis said the September 2018 storm was so severe the entire building had to essentially be gutted and rebuilt. He had hoped to open about six months ago, but the repairs were more involved than he anticipated and he wanted to ensure he didn’t rush the process.

“When the entire building almost completely has to be gutted and remodeled, there’s just so many unforeseen things that add up,” he said at a soft opening for close friends, family and colleagues at the restaurant ahead of reopening to the public. “We wanted to get open as quickly as possible, but more so what was important was that we did this the right way.

“It was important not only that we did it, but that we did it right, and we wanted to open on our terms when we knew that we were ready,” he continued.

Mr. Lewis said the inside of the building was updated and modernized, with new décor, seating and other elements. The upstairs was also redone and is now more suited for large groups and events. The upstairs space is able to be rented.

“We finished the building, we did a complete remodel of the entire building, up and downstairs, we completely redid our menu, we’ve got an entire new line of beers out,” Mr. Lewis said. “We really just tried to make the restaurant space a more modern looking and feeling atmosphere, a more traditional American-style gastropub, sort of like you’d see in (Washington,) D.C. or larger metropolitan areas.”

The inside is not the only part of the building to get a facelift. The façade of Tight Lines’ building was completely redone and is now is made of glass panels. Mr. Lewis said he worked with an independent architect, Megan Toma, on the design and he is pleased with how it turned out.

“We realized and we love that the front of the building is a little bit more modern look and we feel that it’s kind of added a new element to downtown, and hope that it will spur more people to come down here to help all businesses downtown,” he said. “…(The architect) is younger and she has a phenomenal sense of style and she really just kind of went for it. I told her what we were thinking, she came in the space, we both shared similar thoughts about trying to modernize a historic building and have that blend of old and new. We loved it from the start.”

In addition, there is a new outdoor space Mr. Lewis calls the beer garden. Not only is the building rebuilt, but the restaurant’s menu and beer selection is all new, as well. Mr. Lewis said being forced to close was a good time to refresh the menu and beer offerings, and there are currently 13 beers on tap, the most Tight Lines has offered at one time. He added that although the restaurant was closed after Florence, the brewery was still able to produce beers, which were distributed to local bars and restaurants.

“We will continue to grow that business, as well, and hopefully Tight Lines beer will become a household name in Carteret County,” he said.

Mr. Lewis said it felt good to finally get the restaurant and brewery back open. He said during the soft opening initial reactions from customers were positive and he looks forward to sharing the new space with more people.

“I feel great. I’m just very happy, extremely happy that we’ve done this,” he said. “This isn’t my first restaurant opening, they’re challenging, it’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of people pulling you in different directions. But it’s just an overwhelming sense of happiness that we are back open and we’re able to be a presence in downtown Morehead and be able to contribute to downtown rather than being an eyesore from the hurricane.”

Overall, Mr. Lewis said it’s good to be back after such a long time closed and he hopes lots of people come stop by.

“Everyone has been riding by for months noticing what we’re doing outside, but now to showcase that same level of care and design on the inside, we’re looking forward to everyone coming by and checking it out,” he said. “...I feel great about where we’re headed and the direction of our business.”

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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