“What’s this going to be?” a passerby yells into the cavernous, under-construction site at the corner of Broadway and Downtown Long Beach’s Promenade. “Not a chain, I hope.”
Two weeks before the doors roll up and any Pilsner is poured, Natalie van Waardenburg and Garry Muir are walking through The Stave, their soon-to-be wine and beer bar. The space looks far from finished, and the furniture arrives tomorrow. Their expressions alternate between unwavering confidence and disbelief as they mull over what has to be done in the next 14 days. Muir offers a private tour inside the dual-compartment walk-in refrigerator, while van Waardenburg opens boxes and inspects doorknobs. The electricians and builders are busy tying up loose ends. The toilet seat cover dispensers have not been hung in the right spots. There’s always something. But no, this will not be a chain.
The Stave is Muir’s second project — he’s co-owner of downtown Los Angeles’ Corkbar — and a first for van Waardenburg and their third partner, John Murawski. It took about a year to settle on the location, but the outdoor patio and welcoming atmosphere from the city and surrounding businesses sealed the deal. Long Beach is in the process of growing the Promenade (like Santa Monica’s Third Street), a six-block stretch of restaurants, retail and residential units, like the 62 condominiums above the bar.
Muir and van Waardenburg are looking forward to opening tonight, …
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