After three months of renovations, Pub Fiction reopens this week with new features designed to ensure it wins over a new generation of fans.
The changes to the popular Midtown sports bar resemble the transformation that turned sister concept Celtic Gardens into Irish Cowboy earlier this year. Just as the Salt N Pepper Group, the company that owns both concepts as well as 3rd Floor, Beer Market Co., and others, aimed to maintain Irish Cowboy's status as one of Midtown's most popular bars with those renovations, marketing and product director Daut Elshani tells CultureMap that the changes at Pub Fiction are designed to attract millennials who may not be familiar with the bar.
A massive, 5,000-square foot patio highlights the changes. Carved out of the former parking lot, the new space features landscaping, TVs, and a dedicated bar. The patio helps Pub Fiction match the current trend for bars to offer more outdoor space — just consider the popularity of places like the Dogwood, Axelrad, Eight Row Flint, and the recently opened Kirby Ice House — as well as establish direct connections with its sister concepts Irish Cowboy (via a new gate) and 3rd Floor (via a stairwell).
Inside, the changes are equally extensive. In place of the old bar along one wall, a brand new, U-shaped bar near the entrance provides service both inside and outside. The “private bar” in the back has been removed to open up the main room. New booths and high-top tables offer more seating options. Reclaimed wood, which has become a signature of Salt N Pepper concepts ranging from Irish Cowboy to downtown spots Boots 'n Shoots and The Moonshiners, adorns the walls and ceiling.
After the games are over on Friday and Saturday night, those new booths will allow Pub Fiction to capture a bit of a nightclub vibe. While it won’t mimic the over the top atmosphere of places like Clé and VrSI, the music will turn up and bottle service will be available.
The tiny smokers patio has been replaced with a private room that’s been opened up to allow occupants a view onto Hadley Street. Flat screen televisions, a projector, and a private bar make the space a good fit for both corporate events and private parties.
With food service until 11 pm every day, Pub Fiction could even serve as a late night dinner option during the week. A new menu offers both additional healthy items like salads and wraps and more gluttonous options like a burger that uses two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns, and a friendly peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Popular items from the old menu like the fish taco remains. The 24 beer taps that will include more craft options with the expected macro brews.
Even before it opens, the new space has won fans. An Aggie alumni group has agreed to make Pub Fiction its official game watching home for the next three years, which could bring as many as 600 people to the bar on game day. In addition, Elshani says he hopes to announce the plans for joint Pub Fiction-3rd Floor-Irish Cowboy Super Bowl-related parties soon.
With its new patio, upgraded interior, and more food, Pub Fiction looks poised to remain one of Midtown's most popular destinations.