At the start of the month, Hastings welcomed a new sports bar, the Hastings Social Tavern.
Located at 111 Third St. E., the tavern aims to be a place to experiment and bring new influences to Hastings, said owner Delena Nguyen.
Nguyen, born in Minnesota, has lived the last 20 years in Birmingham, Ala. She worked as a manager at Chick-fil-A for six years, but her real love was bartending. When the opportunity to have their own business in Hastings appeared, Nguyen and her fiance, Joshua Jackson, couldn't turn it down.
The menu at Hastings Social Tavern features "typical bar food," Nguyen said, but shortly after opening, the restaurant introduced a flavor not typical of sports bars - pho.
Pho is a Vietnamese soup that feature beef broth, rice noodles with beef or chicken, lime and jalapeno.
Although the pho has received positive feedback from customers, who are asking for more Vietnamese-influenced dishes on the menu, Nguyen is unsure if that is the direction that she will take.
"We've talked about it, but we haven't really decided yet. We just want to see where things go from here," Nguyen said.
Currently, the Social Tavern runs as a sports bar with a limited kitchen, but Nguyen has big plans for the bar and grill despite not knowing what path the restaurant will take.
"This winter we will be expanding our kitchen and next summer, hopefully if everything goes well, we were talking about doing a rooftop bar," Nguyen said.
For now, Nguyen will be expanding the sports bar atmosphere by adding more televisions and giveaways with sporting events. The restaurant offers plenty of tables and chairs, bar space and even couches for customers to relax on. Dart machines are available as well.
Getting to understand the bar scene in Minnesota has been made easier for the two Alabamians by Nguyen's aunt, who owns two bars in St. Paul.
"They've been teaching us some things about running a bar in Minnesota that we don't have in Alabama, like meat raffles, pull tabs, things like that," Nguyen said. "Since we aren't from Hastings, we are taking all the input we can and we are open to suggestions, but we also want to bring our own flair from the South with bartending."
Beer drinkers will still be able to get their drink of choice, but for those who feel like branching out, Nguyen has brought cocktails from Birmingham to Hastings.
If you are looking to try something new, Nguyen suggests the cucumber gimlet, made with muddled basil, cucumbers, a dash of bitters, lime juice, and simple syrup with your choice of gin or vodka. It's a simple and refreshing drink for the summer, Nguyen said.
The Hastings Social Tavern is open 3-11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 11-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.