As it prepares to celebrate its first birthday this weekend, Axelrad is making some upgrades. The Midtown bar known for its craft beer selection, lush beer garden, and lots of hammocks devised an unexpected solution to shorten the line for drinks.
Since the interior space is so limited, owners Adam Brackman, Monte Large, and Jeff Kaplan purchased a 32-foot Airstream trailer and tasked local firm Imagi-Motive with converting it into a satellite bar. The “Beerstream,” as Brackman calls it, features 10 taps (two nitrous), the bar’s full lineup of approximately 20 canned beers, two frozen machines, and the ability to serve cocktails.
“Since the beginning, I knew we’d expand with something out there,” Brackman tells CultureMap. “We’ve been working on this actively for six months."
Roughly half the space will be used for a beer cooler, which will allow Axelrad to cellar more beers and replace a portable cooler that’s currently on the property with even more hammocks. Overall, the trailer’s pastel blue paint fits in with the bar’s overall aesthetic; even the tap handles are shorter, more detailed versions of the carved wooden figures in the main bar.
“I know for sure we’re going to have (512) Pecan Porter on nitro, because that’s my favorite,” general manager Elise Capers says. “The eight regular lines will probably be six staple beers like Saint Arnold Lawnmower and Live Oak Hefeweizen, and then we’ll have two sassy rotating beers.”
In addition to the trailer, Brackman purchased a 34-foot tall red oak that’s been placed in the middle of the garden. It should be tall enough for those stuck in rush hour traffic on 59 to see it. Next up: more bathrooms in the beer garden and a canopy over the seats that are adjacent to the building. Eventually, Brackman would like to convert the upstairs portion of the building into either a cocktail bar or event space.
Axelrad is three times busier than Brackman’s original estimates. When he speaks with his customers, they tell him the bar’s atmosphere is what keeps them coming back.
“From everything I’ve heard, it just feels like home,” Brackman says. “People come here, and they have a good time with their friends. They can meet new people. It’s unpretentious. There’s no judgement. Come as you are and be yourself.”
Axelrad will celebrate its first year of success with a weekend-long party its calling El Freak Show that will feature free concerts by bands like The Tontons and Los Skarnales, as well as circus performers, food pop-ups, and more. Capers says she’s developed a simple strategy for dealing with the bar’s frequently packed crowds.
“We’ve got a really good team here, and I have a lot of helpers,” Capers says. “We just expect the unexpected. It’s exciting. I like it.”