We thought the wave of bar and restaurant closures had troughed, but nope. We’re still riding it. Yesterday, the Miami Herald reported that Boxelder Craft Beer Market will be closing for good on October 31. The news comes as a surprise to many who witnessed the evolution of the pioneering enterprise.
Husband and wife partners Nicole and Adam Darnell opened Boxelder in 2014 in a still-developing area of Wynwood, where craft beer was only just starting to take off. They were the neighborhood’s first bottle shop and beer bar, featuring a constantly changing selection of craft brews on tap and nearly 150 different bottles to choose from. From the onset, it was a friendly place where all types of drinkers could come together. “We really want to be the place where people feel like they can sit, relax and enjoy themselves. A place where both locals and visitors, beer nerds and novices feel welcome,” Nicole told us back in 2015. Boxelder was also where strangers gathered to shotgun a beer every Friday afternoon. For years just before 4pm, anywhere from 10 to 20 people would convene in the back area of the bar awaiting their free beer to chug before sneakily scurrying back to work. Sometimes, the bar would partner with local bakers and hand out doughnuts and snacks to the folks who’d come for the weekly ritual.
Upon its one-year anniversary, Boxelder began its natural evolution as a food incubator, giving a handful of today’s most well-known chefs a platform to launch their businesses. It started with Adam’s close friend Steve Santana (the culinary mind behind Taquiza), who wanted to serve fried chicken sandwiches, and eventually included the likes of Matteson Koche of El Bagel and Jeremiah Bullfrog of Time Out Market Miami’s Square Pie City. Darnell and Santana have since partnered on a new brewpub, Offsite, which is set to open in Little River sometime this fall.
According to the Herald, the Darnells were given a nearly two-year notice from the London-based developer The Collective that purchased their building for redevelopment. And now tt seems that time is up. Boxelder will close its doors on October 31, and an offshoot is already in the works for an unnamed project slated for Downtown Miami this December. In the meantime, keep an eye on its Instagram for updates on programming and send-off events you won't want to miss.