For Andrew Leager, the view from Boylan bridge just got a little better.
His business, the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, is likely to reopen, after all, following a basement wall collapse on Feb. 10 that prompted city inspectors to close it.
“It’s repairable,” Eva Mettrey, who owns the building, said Tuesday.
While Leager estimated the construction timeline at six months, Mettrey offered a more optimistic but less specific outlook.
“I think it’ll be open sooner than we all anticipated when it first happened,” she said. “We hope to be open soon so people can enjoy the beautiful weather and a beer.”
The brewpub, located atop a hill at the corner of Boylan Avenue and Hargett Street, has for nearly seven years been a popular spot for diners who want to enjoy a view of the downtown Raleigh skyline from the pub’s outdoor patio.
But the pub’s future seemed “grim” in the days after the accident, Leager said last month.
The wall bore the weight of the patio above and he wasn’t sure at first whether it would be possible or economically feasible to fix it. Leager canceled plans to celebrate the brewpub’s 7th birthday on Feb. 27 and advised his staff members to look for work elsewhere.
“It may be that we can’t come back,” he said last month.
Now, there’s scaffolding in the basement where the wall collapsed, engineers are prepping for reconstruction and Leager is daydreaming about how a renovation could improve his business.
Construction crews will have to pull up the wooden deck patio above to fix the wall and install a new sprinkler line, he said. Rather than replace the wooden deck floor, Leager wants to leave it as concrete so he can potentially install a fireplace.
A new concrete floor would also allow Leager to enclose the patio in the winter, which could provide a huge boost to his business. He’d use glass – not plastic – to enclose it when it’s cold because plastic is harder to see through and sometimes has a strong smell, Leager said. He’d remove the panels on warm weather days.
“There was no way we would ever have a temporary enclosure (with the wooden floor) because air could come right up through it,” he said.
The only thing that could stop him? Running out of money.
“I’ve never gone six months with no income,” Leager said.
“It would be a tragedy to get so close (to reopening) and then have to go under, but I think we’ll be able to make it,” he said. “This could end up being the best thing that ever happened to us.”
Mettrey said it’s too early to comment on Leager’s ideas for the building, but was optimistic about the brewpub’s future.
“I think we’re going to make the best of the situation,” she said. “He’s a wonderful guy. I’m ready to get him back in there.”