Pints & Union will open to the public sometime in early August. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Pints & Union, the long-planned European-style pub in downtown New Albany, is days away from a soft open trial run and likely just a couple of weeks away from an official grand opening.

As of this writing, the business, owned by Joe Phillips, was awaiting final licenses to begin serving liquor, but Phillips let Insider in for a first look at what the pub has in store.

For anyone who has been inside an actual pub in western Europe, chances are you’ll feel right at home at Pints & Union, which is located at 114 E. Market St. Wood floors, exposed brick and a general rustic feel is what you’ll find, accented with quirky décor, including antique art, breweriana and lots of taxidermy.

Workers were busy putting the final touches on Pints & Union last week. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Entering the front door of the building, which essentially was completely rebuilt inside, one quickly notices a yellow hearth and mantle on the right, with a row of blocked booths on the left.

The main bar is topped with finished wood, fronted with a former tin roof. Standing bars separate the bar from booths, and hanging Edison lights keep the place illuminated, along with a pair of open-front coolers for bottled beers.

Upstairs is a loft-style space that overlooks the entryway and main bar, with more booth seating, bookshelves along one wall, and a long communal table in the center.

That space will be used for meetings and groups, and every Tuesday and Thursday, from 4-7 p.m., Roger Baylor, who runs the beer program, will hold court, talking about historic beer styles and other topics related to classic beers.

Three chandeliers loom above an ornate, cast iron railing, while the stairway leading up to the loft is lined with a barrel-stave hand rail and border. Chairs in the upstairs space are mixed, many of them looking like they were swiped from your grandmother’s kitchen.

Upstairs is a loft area that will be used for events. It also includes a library. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Phillips said the upstairs loft area will offer reminders of the Red Room, a space Baylor designed many years ago for the former Rich O’s Public House in New Albany (now part of New Albanian Brewing Company).

The taxidermy is what puts an exclamation point on the mood. A horned goat peers out across the main bar area, while in booth spaces you might encounter a quail or the back end of a raccoon. Expect plenty of antlers.

Expect plenty of taxidermy at Pints & Union. | Courtesy of Pints & Union

Phillips said the space has been a collaboration with Resch Construction, while Katie Traughber was a design consultant.

“She’s taken it to a whole other level,” Phillips said, speaking about his design for the pub. “It’s more intimate. It’s more personal than I envisioned.”

The soft opening will start with a short menu featuring Lebanese pickles, red lentil with chips, tandoori asparagus, tikka wings and sticky ribs. Eventually, a full menu will roll out that includes everything from Scotch eggs to currywurst fries to shawarma.

There will be a full bar with cocktails, as well as eight taps pouring five permanent beers with seasonal rotators and a cider, with about 36 bottled beers from which to choose — most of these will be imported beers, with at least 20 different styles represented, according to Baylor.

Draft beers will be served in 20-ounce pub glasses or in 10-ounce half-pours.

A hearth frame sits just inside the main entrance. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

A “hangover brunch” will be the norm every Sunday, while two-wheel Wednesday will be a weekly event as well. Other nights might feature a DJ or other random community events.

A collection of books will be available upstairs for those who want to enjoy a pint and read.

One thing visitors won’t find at Pints & Union are TVs. This isn’t a place you’ll gather with friends to watch the big game — the goal is for the pub to foster conversation.

“I hope people realize they don’t need a television” when they settle in there, Phillips said. “It’s relaxing, disarming. It’s not pretentious.”

In other words, if your idea for a night out is drinks and appetizers at Drake’s, this Pints & Union might not be your thing.

Pending final licenses coming through, Phillips hopes the soft open will begin later this week, with the grand opening to be announced for sometime in early August.

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Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]