On May 6, Henderson Avenue Gastropub The Skellig posted a simple image with an intriguingly vague message to its Facebook page.
“Excuse the mess! Stay tuned …” the post read, atop a picture of a large black sign fixed to a fence announcing that the bar has begun construction on a new beer garden, with an expected summer 2019 opening.
In a town that loves drinking and dining al fresco, and especially on a street that cherishes a party-ready patio above seemingly all else, this isn’t a small development. Open since October 2015, The Skellig has been a reliable spot for those looking for a Euro-style pub environment, as well as for anyone seeking a hearty weekend brunch. It’s a part of owner Feargal McKinney’s popular Pubsmith portfolio, which includes Dallas landmark The Old Monk.
According to Pubsmith’s operations manager Charles Reiss, the outdoor beer garden will add “approximately 1,800 square feet” to the mostly uncovered space, which will include a new 600-square-foot bar, situated off the current side patio on the west side of the building. With a large rolling door entry, the remote bar will be “constructed using reclaimed Austin stone and allow us to offer a full range of beers and cocktails outdoors,” he adds. “Feargal says he hopes it will feel like the smallest pub you have ever visited, with room for about 15 good friends to squash in.”
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Not to be confused with a German-style biergarten, the Skellig is thinking the new space will feel more like “Irish pubs whose business literally spills out to the garden on the not-too-frequent good weather days in Ireland,” Reiss says.
Reiss describes a scene that will surely attract its fair share of eyeballs from those looking for a prime outdoor spot to hold court. But to be clear, when the beer garden opens around the end of this summer, The Skellig hopes people see it as more than just another Dallas patio.
“There will be an open space with large wooden community tables, as well as traditional tables for smaller groups and cedar picnic-style benches, and a fire pit,” he adds. “And there’s already a newly-planted 25-foot live oak tree in place. That will be set against the backdrop of an 8-foot, large stone wall on a floor of crushed granite, with big, shareable tables atop whiskey barrels. We already have a patio. This is going to feel very different, more casual, we feel, than the term patio implies.”
The Skellig, 2409 N. Henderson Ave. (Knox-Henderson)