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Bohemian meets heavy metal: Asheville brewery to open new cocktail bar, event space

Glam rock skull mural

‘Bohemian meets heavy metal’: Asheville brewery to open new cocktail bar, event space

ASHEVILLE – The days of beer-only breweries are falling out of fashion, and a pair of local beer entrepreneurs are going with the flow of diversified beverage trends. Dssolvr founders Michael Semenec and Vince Tursi are tacking on a cocktail-forward element to its Asheville brewery and taproom that will cater to wider audiences.

On May 17, Vowl, a wine and cocktail bar and event space, will debut at 5 p.m. at 61 North Lexington Ave. downtown, next door to the brewery. Tursi said a cocktail bar is a natural progression with the rise in popularity of ready-to-drink products, cocktails and other non-beer beverages. Dssolvr’s delved more into natural wine and cider production, which will be showcased on Vowl’s menu.

A Natural Progression

“This is a long time coming because we’ve always wanted to dip into being able to rent out part of our space, but it never felt comfortable closing out the taproom so other people couldn’t access it at the same time,” Semenec said.

Vowl ― whose name is a play on Dssolvr’s name and represents its missing vowels ― will allow the business to increase community involvement by hosting public events like live music, comedy nights and karaoke. The venue may be booked for private events, which may be adapted to fit groups with less than 20 to nearly 80 people. Regularly, the bar will open later and remain open longer into the night than its beer-tasting room counterpart.

Vowl’s regular hours will be 5 p.m.-Midnight Monday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 3-10 p.m. Sunday.

Dssolvr Levels Up

In 2022, Semenec and Tursi announced its Dssolvr 2.0 Vision Plan, and the business has since leveled up to 3.0 status with expansions that include a second taproom in Durham that opened last September. In Asheville, Tursi said the brewery had been enhanced by replacing a few beer tanks to increase brewing capacity from a seven-barrel to a 15-barrel tank system, and the canning line was upgraded. Wine production was increased from less than a half-ton to three tons since the facility opened in 2019.

“We’re expanding total production and starting to refine the quality of the beer a little bit more every month, so this is the natural progression,” Tursi said. “If we’re going to start producing more beer and wine, we’re going to need to be able to segment and highlight those individually instead of trying to do them both at the same space.”

Vowl Vibes

Vowl, which Semenec described as “bohemian meets heavy metal,” is designed with a soft side of pink and pastel green colors with hardcore accents like a skull mural. “It’s like a more adult refined evolution of the original Dssolvr brand with a lot more polishing,” Tursi said.

Vowl, to offer nearly 100 seats in an estimated 2,000-square-foot space, will connect to Dssolvr’s taproom for 300 total seats at both locations. Dssolvr hosts pop-up food vendors, which will be accessible to Vowl guests. A permanent food partner is in consideration for as soon as this fall.

Vowl’s Bar Menu

The taproom and bar are open to all ages, but guests must be age 21 or older to drink alcoholic beverages. However, Vowl’s menu will offer many more zero-proof drinks. “We’re planning on still allowing people and families to come here,” Tursi said. “That’s important for Asheville with our tourist scene and overall family scene ― to still be welcoming of all ages.”

Bar manager and mixologist Zane Bucholz curated a menu that blends old-school cocktails and riffs on contemporary cocktail recipes. The menu will feature Manhattan, daiquiri, nitro espresso martini, chimichurri white negroni spritz, gochujang Michelada, and Vowl-themed boilermakers ― beer and shot combinations. In addition to wine and cider, the menu will offer mocktails, seltzers, and hop water. Nonalcoholic slushies will be beta-tested, and guests will have the option to add a spirit.

“We’re excited to bring a more polished and refined vision for glam rock meets Bohemian vibe to Dssolvr and have a place where we can finally showcase a lot of our wine alongside cocktails and provide an event space for accommodating way more people,” Tursi said.

Vowl Details

  • Where: 61 North Lexington Ave., downtown Asheville.
  • Opening: 5 p.m. May 17.
  • Hours: 5 p.m.-Midnight Monday-Thursday. 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 3-10 p.m. Sunday.
  • Info: For more, visit dssolvr.com and follow on Instagram @dssolvr and @vowl.bar. To book a private event, email events@dssolvr.com.

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  • Asheville James Beard Award-winning restaurant announces closure, reopening dates


HERE Asheville
Author: HERE Asheville

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