MONCTON – The weekend after the Furnace Room opened, my friends and I sat on a patio across from the new craft beer bar on Robinson St., watching group after group of people walk in.
We had checked out their patio first, but it was packed.
Weekends at the Furnace Room have been “crazy busy” and even weekdays have been “robust,” said majority owner Sebastien Pinto. Since it opened in mid-July, the 200-seat facility has been a new go-to spot for drinks.
“It’s the sort of place when you come in, you immediately feel a sense of warmth, friendliness and nostalgia due to our carefully chosen staff and its very chill environment and decor,” Pinto said in an e-mail to Huddle. “Being the ‘new kid’ on the block, people are trying us out. We expect our growth to remain strong going forward.”
The bar business is a natural choice for the Dieppe native, having graduated from Université de Moncton with a business degree and being close to the bar industry.
“I’ve worked in the bar industry for many years and have always loved what I do. I have always had the business mindset and have been waiting for the right opportunity to take the next step in my career while still doing something I love,” Pinto said.
The Furnace Room, located where The Navigators’ Pub was, is a way for him to tap into the local craft beer market. Pinto is the majority owner of the bar but he has backing from an investor to get his idea off the ground.
“Throughout the world, craft beer is becoming increasingly popular and considered amongst the highest growth area within the alcohol industry,” he said. “I also feel it is very important to give back to your community and by selling locally made products, we are in effect helping our community and region.”
Currently, the craft beer selection at the Furnace Room comes from the local and regional market. But Pinto plans to bring in some national and international award-winning products in the future.
With six to eight people on staff, Pinto said he may need to hire more as the bar becomes busier.
“Going forward, my hope is to develop a solid footing for the Furnace Room by increasing its popularity by offering a great product, a beautiful ambiance and a safe and clean business environment,” he said. “As for expansion, it would be great to spread out to other areas within the Atlantic Canadian marketplace, but this will take some time.”
For now, he’s taking it “one day at a time.” The Furnace Room is open daily from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., but these hours may change slightly in the winter.
Here’s a look inside the bar: