Tay Greenleaf graduated from UNCA with a degree in creative writing and poetry. She spends way too much money on coffee.
The old I & J building on Haywood road used to be a late-night spot for last minute 6-pack runs, but since its closing about a year ago, this prime real estate spot in the heart of West Asheville has remained bare—but not for too much longer. Owners of Banks Ave. and Cascade Lounge are teaming up to turn the vacant stretch into the Haywood Country Club, a local hotspot that they hope will fill a niche that West Asheville otherwise lacks.
Not blind to the already growing bar scene that has taken over the Haywood strip, owners Corey Israel and Trevor Smith formerly of Cascade Lounge, and Benjy Greene and Scott Thomas of Banke Ave. are hoping to find a way to stand out with residents first and foremost. “West Asheville is the heart of the locals,” says Smith, “We want the community to have a hand in molding the bar—and Haywood Rd. will certainly make it feel a certain way.”
They are striving to create a quintessential neighborhood hangout, but also hope their location will lend itself to becoming the pre-game, after-show hotspot for Mothlight events and other goings-on in the area. As for actual amenities, they plan to have between 12 and 16 taps, pool tables and bar games, an affordable cocktail program, and, most notably, a big outdoor patio that will provide a larger outdoor drinking space and an area for food trucks.
“We want to fill a niche that hasn’t quite been hit yet,” says Israel. “ We are shooting for the perfect middle ground between craft cocktail bar and dive joint: It's a place where you can have a nice drink and afford it...and hopefully that keeps you coming back.”
As for the title of “country club?” Smith assures it’s all tongue-in-cheek. “It’s our way of saying that no one is better than anyone else. Everyone is welcome here.”
The Haywood Country Club will open this Fall.