Last year, Little Miss Brewing debuted in Miramar. Though the brewery has a tasting room built into it, that wasn’t part of the original business-plan. Owners Jade and Greg Malkin, bar-owner transplants from Arizona, intended to keep that purely a production-facility and construct satellite tasting rooms with an activity-fortified bar atmosphere in which to introduce their beers to the public at-large. The couple is currently at work on the first two of those venues, which are located in Normal Heights and Ocean Beach. We recently spoke with Jade to get a better idea of what to expect when those spots open later this year.
OB is home to may brewery-owned venues. What opportunities and challenges do you see there?
OB and, more specifically Newport Ave, has quickly become known for brewery tasting rooms. There is such a great scene there and we are excited to be a part of it. Yes, in theory this draws contrast to Normal Heights, but we actually see a lot of similarities, too. Normal Heights, and again, more specifically Adams Avenue, has a great bar and restaurant scene. These are both neighborhoods that people live in and take pride in. They have great communities and with that comes some awesome events; OB with its weekly farmer’s market on Newport and Normal Heights with Adams Avenue Unplugged and the Adams Avenue Street Fair. Going into neighborhoods that have a great sense of community behind them and their own identities was important to us.
What are some of the features of the bars you opened prior to moving to San Diego?
Greg opened The Whining Pig in Phoenix in 2013. It was just under 500 square feet, so it would be almost impossible not to use the word “cozy “to describe it. It ended up being such an advantage, though, because it brought people together. From a customer perspective, you would inadvertently overhear the conversations around you and, with a little liquid courage, you would jump in and end up meeting new people every time you went. You’d play the board games scattered across the bar-top with people who were total strangers only seconds before. It had such a great neighborhood feel. At the end of 2014, Greg helped his mom open The Pig’s Meow Beer and Wine Bar about five miles down the road. He helped her keep a similar design, but the main goal was to keep that cozy, charming, neighborhood feel in double the square-footage. Using lighting, some more intimate seating areas and a narrow U-shaped bar so you could still chat with the people sitting across it allowed The Pig’s Meow to maintain that same feel. To keep things fresh, he added a Lego wall and, eventually, we helped her expand that bar by an additional 1,000 square feet where we designed a lounge area, and built an oversized pool table that was large enough to stand on and roll bowling balls into the pockets. We tend to frequent the places we feel comfortable in; that feel like home, but better. We try our best to provide that in our brewery, but it’s difficult just due to how cavernous it is. So you’ll see a better example of our vision going forward with our satellite spaces.
How will you put your fun-and-cozy stamp on Little Miss’ satellite locations provide?
We want these tasting rooms to be places you want to come, hang out and stay a while. At the OB location, we have these little booth areas that were already built into the space where we are going to put in console games, like Nintendo, Sega and Atari. At the Adams Avenue location, the walls are covered in chalkboard paint so customers can draw and challenge their friends to tic-tac-toe. We also plan on having tons of card and board games at both locations. Additionally, we’ll institute a mug club at both locations. A monthly membership fee will fetch you a personalized pint glass with your name etched on it for you to take home in addition to one we’ll hold for you at the tasting room, special holiday pint glasses, a dollar off every pint, access to some members-only events and beer releases. We’re planning to keep this limited to about 100 customers per location due to space and because we’ll be etching the glasses ourselves.
What are some locales you’re considering beyond OB and Normal Heights?
Greg, (head brewer) Joe Lisica and I have been talking about looking north to Oceanside. We love the beer-scene up there and, much like Miramar, there is a great military community there.The military community in Miramar has been very kind to us and we love taking care of them. Other than Oceanside, it is still up for discussion and we’re still weighing the pros and cons of a lot of neighborhoods.