For the past decade, Phil McFarland has grown Smallbar Division St. from a neighborhood bar, to one of the best craft beer accounts in the city with a killer kitchen. But Division St, where it calls home, has transformed around him even faster, as new concept bars and restaurants move in, the housing structures changed dramatically, and crowds that once flocked to his humble craft beer bar now parade past on their way to huge sports bars and party spots, each with a decent craft selection themselves.
It’s the end of an era for Phil. But is it an end of an era for the craft bar, the specialty retailer? Times have changed, and you can get a decent selection at a BW3. Or you can go to a number of brewery taprooms, arguably the coolest places to drink these days. So who needs the craft bar anymore? For Phil, it’s a bittersweet goodbye, but it was also inevitable. Here are his thoughts on the future.