The Matador has new digs and the Woods opens downtown 

Longtime downtown fixture to relocate to Mills50 area, and the Lodge's owners open new craft-cocktail space

click to enlarge Matador
  • Matador

The Matador's new digs

A pretty deep segment of the drinking class mourned when downtown mainstay the Matador closed at the end of November after eight years. Well, dry that eye, because the celebrated bar will soon be the newest full-liquor addition to the rising and organic Mills Avenue sector. Having signed a new lease for the former Sip space (724 Virginia Drive) and on schedule for a February opening, the bar's next iteration, according to management, will feature happy hours, free parking, a nonsmoking interior, a large patio extension, specialty drink offerings (Scotch, whisky, gin, import beer) and possibly even a small food selection.

The Woods offers a new craft cocktail option downtown

By design, new downtown loft bar the Woods has mostly been word-of-mouth insider news since its Thanksgiving week opening. It's the new venture by the owners of the rowdy Lodge and occupies the space upstairs. But this, as even they're emphatic to point out, is an entirely different kind of place – polar opposite, in fact. With a level of class that exceeds even its higher elevation, the Woods is the sophisticated sister with good taste and deep pockets. Dressed in luxuriously recycled wood (the bar top is made from a single majestic laurel oak that was felled by Hurricane Charley, and the ancient heart pine that was removed during demolition was refashioned into grand shelves), the nonsmoking bar's focus is craft cocktails and craft beer, and the music is mostly '50s and '60s soul and rock & roll. The Woods is located at 49 N. Orange Ave.; enter on the north side of the building.


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