For many, entering the hospitality industry parallels entering the mafia. Once you’re in, it’s difficult to get out. It’s a challenging industry with a large margin for error, but unlike the mafia, your primary responsibility is to make everyone happy, and what could be more rewarding than that?
This is why Jeremy Hart and Dan Haggerty, owners of Industry East, a brand-new cocktail bar set to open this month, were so determined to create their own space to satisfy the public in spite of the numerous challenges 2020 threw at them.
Hart and Haggerty have spent much of their lives as bartenders, including at the well-established Birch on Elm on Manchester’s Elm Street. Over a full year ago, they decided to take the leap and build their own spot using their years of experience working in restaurants.
“We’ve both been in the restaurant industry for most of our lives,” said Haggerty. “We’ve built a little following over our collective forty years in the industry. We just wanted to make a place that we would want to hang out at.”
Located in the former home of Suddenly Soupy’s on Hanover Street in Manchester, Industry East has been in the works since before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Like many other new business owners, Hart and Haggerty faced a battery of challenges that prevented them from opening, including permit delays, vendor issues and high food costs.
Hart and Haggerty remained focused on their goal, and although they weren’t able to open in 2020, they succeeded in creating a one-of-a-kind bar unlike any other in Manchester.
The cozy space is a mix of rustic and modern, with lots of reclaimed wood, eccentric lighting and unique ornamental features, all of which is visible from the street.
“We were going for a spot where you walk by and from the outside you think, ‘I want to go in there.’ Curb appeal is huge. When you walk by, what you see is the whole place,” said Haggerty.
The hand-crafted bar is made from a piece of Milford, NH-sourced Butternut wood with a live edge. Even the floors are special. Hart and Haggerty bought pine boards and scorched them with a blowtorch to give a woodsy finish.
Hart designed the bar menu to be a cut above what everyone expects. All syrups, shrubs and juices are prepared in-house and the menus will feature an abundance of unique concoctions that simply don’t exist elsewhere.
“I’m kind of a snob with drinks, so if I like it, generally speaking, people who come in will like it.,” said Hart. “It can’t be too sweet or too sour; it has to be just really balanced and [it has to] look beautiful at the same time.”
Of course, those looking for a classic Cosmopolitan or Mojito need not fear. A rotating menu of traditional drinks will be available every night, and any classic cocktail can be shaken upon request.
Food at Industry East is not an afterthought. Head Chef Jeff Martin crafted a menu full of fast, shareable options including charcuterie boards, panini, and flatbreads. The biggest hurdle for Martin was the kitchen itself, which lacks a hood system.
“It’s definitely challenging without the typical kitchen that you see where you can put fries and a cheeseburger on the menu and call it a day, but the limitations breed innovation,” said Martin.
The warm, cozy space implores patrons to relax and chat with one another. As such, there are no TVs in sight. Industry East was designed to be the type of place to go to after clocking out at the end of a long night.
Although COVID concerns are as prevalent as ever, the crew is committed to adhering to guidelines. Given the restrictions, the bar seats about 20 people, but come spring, an outdoor patio will provide additional space for thirsty patrons.
After over a year of preparation and planning, these two bar veterans are ready to have their vision fully realized. They’re using their experience in the industry to contribute to it their own way, with the opening of Industry East.
Industry East will hold their official grand opening on Tuesday, February 2. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates. Find them steps away from the Palace Theater, located at 28 Hanover St. in Manchester, NH.