- View from parking lot looking toward patio and front door.
- Owner Rusty Delk
- Glass ceiling with wooden beam chandelier and caged light fixture created by Re Coop Designs.
- View looking in and to the right.
- View of bar from front door.
- Antique doors add rustic charm to the bathrooms; the glass shown here will be replaced with a smoked wired glass.
- Wood reclaimed from the former property become the bathroom counters.
- The glass wall rolls open all way creating an indoor/outdoor space in seconds.
- Sign from former business on the property.
"Wooster's Garden" [Photos: Ellie Sharp]
Calling all craft beer lovers and drinkers. The siren call of Wooster's Garden in Midtown is about to sound full blast: heed our advice and when it does, answer it. Owner Rusty Delk and partner Lui Guzman's brand new concept incorporates their respect and love for craft brews with a desire to educate beer drinkers from all backgrounds on virtually everything there is to know about this fermented beverage.
Fifty taps will line the bar with a heavy emphasis on representing local favorites including Karbach, Saint Arnold, Lone Pint, Southern Star, No Label, 8th Wonder, and Buffalo Bayou. Delk promises that these breweries will always have a place at Wooster's while other regionally local offerings will include the likes of Abita and Rahr & Sons. The remaining 15 or so taps will be reserved for nationally recognized brands from Colorado, New York, and California such as North Coast and Brooklyn Brewery. Once all taps have been claimed, bottles and cans representing 125 more selections will round out the liquid gold menu. Of these, a respectable number will include international beers from iconic brewing countries like Belgium and Germany. Although the focus is beer, Wooster's will also cater to those wishing to sip a glass of wine or nurse a highball of high-end whiskey, bourbon, or Scotch.
While the craft beer movement in Texas is exploding, Delk is quick to acknowledge that not everyone is ready to leave familiar favorites behind and embrace this rapidly growing culture. As such, he wants to extend an especially warm welcome to those wishing to learn more but who are lacking in confidence to embark on the journey alone. "We are welcoming to everybody," Delk says. "We don't care if you don't know craft beer. We don't care if you've never heard the terms bottom fermented [or] top fermented. That's why we're here. We're here to teach you that."
And teach he will with a growing list of beer education classes for all interests and knowledge levels from novice on up. These in-house taught classes will offer students any number of opportunities to expand their knowledge of beer in an unpretentious and fun atmosphere lead by experts who are friendly and approachable. Said authorities will include reps, home brewers, and people who work for local breweries whose lives revolve around creating, tasting, serving, and presenting the addictive and fulfilling bubbly brew. These classes will include "A lot, a lot, a lot of tastings" in addition to a wide range of informative themes resulting in a full breadth of understanding. For example, not only will students learn the difference between an ale and a lager but they will have the chance to sample varieties from each starting from lightest to darkest so that they leave with a firm appreciation of these two different brewing approaches. The aspiring home brewer will be pleased to learn that Jesse Soto of Brewheart Apparel will be teaching a class on how to do just that. Delk even plans to incorporate sake education classes in the future by drawing on his former days of living in Japan. Classes will range in price from about $10 to about $30 depending on the topics, tastings, and other details. Most classes will also include a food-pairing component to complement the drink tastings.
If attending classes isn't your thing but you still have burning questions, don't hesitate to approach the bar and consult whoever is serving you that day. Perhaps you found the beer list lacking your go-to light beer and don't know what to order or how to explain your taste preferences. Congratulations, you are Delk's ideal customer. "If you've been drinking Bud Light your whole life and you want to jump into a craft beer scenario we are a great place," says Delk. "The whole premise is we are the craft beer bar for people who are new to craft beer. We'd love to teach you about them."
Limited but thoughtful food and cocktail menus will add diversity to the offerings at Wooster's and provide tasteful palate cleansers between drafts. High-end sandwiches (though nothing tops over $11) developed by Delk will share space with made-to-order fresh baked soft pretzels and appetizers like Caprese shooters. A "build your own" cheese plate seems the perfect accompaniment to the aforementioned pretzels. Just sayin.' Eight signature cocktails made with a succinct and local-focused liquor selection will feature fresh-squeezed juices.
Architecturally speaking, expect to be blown away by the design features Delk and his team have thoughtfully and masterfully crafted. Approaching from Milam, patrons will be greeted at the parking lot by a custom designed iron arch from Wooster's contractor Deco Designs. After parking in any of the 45 dedicated parking spaces (or at the bike rack), guests will approach the patio – a haven shaded by two wooden pergolas (complete with built-in seating), two Chinese Red Elms, and enhanced by a wealth of planters & greenery. Oh, and did we mention the misters and fans? Guests will then enter the bar via floor-to-ceiling class doors and look up into a stunning glass ceiling punctuated with caged light fixtures and an impressive wooden beam light chandelier created by Houston's Re Coop Designs using partially reclaimed materials from the premises. Re Coop also created the wooden accent wall near the bathrooms – neither if which you'll want to miss (trust us ladies - and gentlemen - these bathrooms will be spectacular.). A polished cement bar top, antique purse hooks, reclaimed original wood, original white brick walls, hand-poured sinks, and white oak floors – mirrored by the ceiling – create a soothing yet edgy environment perfect for happy hour, bachelor parties, casual hangouts, and everything in between.
At the end of the day this is the place for anyone who wants to enjoy a refreshing brew with friends in a beautiful space. Wooster's motto says it all, "Relax, Imbibe, Socialize." We'll drink to that.
Update: This opening has been delayed.