Large new sports bar and restaurant opens in historic building along downtown’s New Hampshire Street

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Aline Misaiphon, owner of Mr. Brews Taphouse, is pictured on Feb. 27, 2024 inside the restaurant's new downtown Lawrence location.

If it is a battle between beer and TVs, it is a little hard to say which one would be the victor at downtown Lawrence’s new sports bar and grill.

The new Mr. Brews Taphouse has 48 different beers on tap, while having 16 televisions, although two of the televisions are of the 85-inch variety. So, the math on that is 85 times 2, minus 48 and . . . maybe I need to take a burger break.

That burger lineup also has grown as Mr. Brews moved from its south Iowa Street location to its new home at 811 New Hampshire St. But owner Aline Misaiphon is most excited by something else that has grown with the move.

“We really are double the size that we used to be,” Misaiphon said, referring to the restaurant’s previous location in a strip mall in front of the Kohl’s department store.

Its neighbors are a little different now. If you are having a hard time picturing the location, it is the old stone building — most recently it was a sushi restaurant — that is right across the street from the parking lot that hosts the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market. Misaiphon said she’s looking forward to partnering with that organization when it starts up this spring, plus many more.

“It is a different style being down here,” Misaiphon said. “It is just fun to be where all the action is, and the parades and all the little events that happen down here.”

Not all events have been welcome, though. Mr. Brews is next door to the Cielito Lindo building that caught fire in December and was deemed a complete loss. Misaiphon said her heart stopped beating a couple of times as that fire grew and encroached upon her restaurant, which was still under renovation.

Ultimately, the Mr. Brews space did receive some water and smoke damage from the fire, but fire and medical crews were successful in preventing the fire from spreading. Misaiphon said the fire ended up delaying the opening of her restaurant by about a month.

Misaiphon said that in talking with the owners of the burnt building, she is optimistic it will get torn down soon and work will begin on a new structure at the site. She said her operations have recovered fine, with the most important thing being that the restaurant was able to get open in advance of March Madness and all the NCAA basketball games.

“We think we’re going to be a perfect place to watch a lot of games,” she said.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Mr Brews Taphouse, pictured on Feb. 27, 2024, is located at 811 New Hampshire Street.

And, of course, with a name that includes “taphouse” in its title, it also is designed to be a good place to have a few cold beverages. But the establishment isn’t gearing itself to be a traditional downtown college bar. On weeknights, the business will close at 10 p.m., while closing time will be 11 p.m. on weekends, although the business certainly will stay open later if KU has a late game.

“We also are very family friendly,” Misaiphon said, noting that the restaurant has a kids’ menu.

The restaurant also is sauce and spice friendly. Just like at its old location, hamburgers are the signature menu item at the new Mr. Brews — but often it is the sauces that make them unique. The restaurant’s longtime most-popular dish has been the Kentucky Bourbon Classic, a hamburger with bacon, cheddar cheese, grilled and fried onions and a Kentucky-bourbon-mayo sauce. If that is not enough, a Peanut Buster burger features a spicy peanut butter spread, and a Brews-Chetta burger comes with a basil pesto mayo.

The spices most often can be found on the French fries. All fries come with a choice of plain sea salt, sea salt and cracked black pepper, BBQ, Cajun, ranch, or Parmesan and garlic spices.

The restaurant, which has a much larger kitchen, expanded its menu by adding “burger bowls” to its offerings. That’s basically a deconstructed burger that is served on a bed of spring mix and romaine lettuce.

Flatbread creations also are a new addition, including a Jalapeno Popper flatbread menu item that comes with beef, fresh jalapenos, cream cheese and barbecue sauce on flatbread. Or diners can build their own flatbread creation, much like they would pick the sauces and toppings for a pizza. The restaurant offers, red, white and barbecue sauce options and multiple meat and vegetable toppings.

Misaiphon said she also hopes people will come into the restaurant to see the old building itself. It is one of the older structures in downtown, and has a unique history too. It was part of a complex of buildings that served as the largest seed company in the western U.S. at one point in time. The building was a warehouse for the Barteldes Seed Company, which had its main offices on Massachusetts Street (where Sunflower Outdoor & Bike is today) but used large New Hampshire Street structures to store its product.

Today, the 811 New Hampshire building still has a historic feel to it, given that most of the interior walls have been left exposed to show off the old stonework. Misaiphon said when she was looking for a new home for Mr. Brews, she wasn’t certain that it had to be downtown. Then, she saw the New Hampshire Street space and changed her mind.

“We fell in love with the rustic, historical building,” she said.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Mr. Brews Taphouse remodeled the space at 811 New Hampshire Street, but left the old stone walls and wooden beams of the historic building exposed.


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