New pub to open in Forsyth County; will specialize in craft beer

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Norman Hill, left, and his wife, Jennifer, are set to open Old Nick’s Pub in Lewisville. It will be a private club specializing in craft beers and cocktails and will have dart boards and pool tables. (Lisa O’Donnell/Journal)

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LEWISVILLE, N.C. — Old Nick Williams lives, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Norman and Jennifer Hill are paying homage to a couple of Lewisville’s historic figures — both named Nick Williams — with their new business, Old Nick’s Pub.

The bar, 1919 Lowes Food Drive, is scheduled to have its grand opening Saturday featuring live music from The Rockers and lots of craft beers, craft cocktails, single-malt scotch and other libations.

“We thought people needed a place to gather,” Jennifer Hill said. “This is all about community building.”

The Hills, Lewisville residents, reached into the area’s past for inspiration when deciding what to name their pub.

Nicholas Lanier Williams ran a distillery on the family’s 8,000-acre plantation along Panther Creek, near the Yadkin River, in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

His grandson, Nicholas Glenn Williams, expanded operations, selling Old Nick’s Whiskey around the world. When a new law in 1903 forbade the distillation of alcohol outside of chartered towns, the younger Williams incorporated the town of Williams.

The town numbered 52 residents at one time but eventually faded into obscurity after a new state law banned distilleries outright, forcing the closure of Old Nick Williams Co.

The Hills said they thought it would be fun to tie their pub into the colorful story of both Nick Williamses.

There are other tie-ins to the past, as well. Most noticeable is the eye-catching antique Brunswick bar, which looks like a relic from a high-class saloon in the Wild West.

Jennifer Hill found the bar for sale on an architectural salvage website. It served as the prompt the Hills needed to fulfill a longtime dream of owning a bar.

“We had talked about the idea of opening a bar,” Jennifer Hill said last week. “But it was more like, ‘What if?’ and we thought it would probably never happen. I happened to come across this website. These bars are becoming harder to find. I was intrigued.”

The 100-year old bar was shipped here from the north, complete with dinks and divots that the Hills lathered over with several coats of glossy finish.

The piece sets the mood for the type of bar that the Hills hope to have — cozy, with a touch of sophistication.

Other interior highlights included a copper-pressed ceiling, antique wood door panels that are set into the bathroom doors, and lounge chairs where patrons can have a glass of wine and use their laptops.

Old Nick’s Pub is not a sports bar, but there flat-screen TVs mounted on the walls in a few areas if people want to come by and watch a game. There are also two pool tables and four dart boards.

The Hills are avid dart players and hope that the bar will become part of the circuit for some of the area dart leagues.

Another interesting feature is the Art-O-Mat machine, which may be the first one in Lewisville.

The machines are repurposed cigarette machines filled with little pieces of art from North Carolina artists. For $5, people buy a token that is inserted into the coin slot, allowing them to pull on a tab that will deliver the desired piece of art.

Because the pub does not serve food, it must operate as a private club. People are welcome to pick up food from local restaurants and take it to the pub to eat, the Hills said.

They also hope that folks who attend such community events as this Sunday’s Christmas parade and the annual plays on Shallowford Square will swing by afterward for a drink.

“It’s nice to have things within walking distance,” Norman Hill said.

There will be 10 beers on tap and 15-20 varieties in bottles; about 10 red and white wines; and cocktails, including some original recipes from bar manager, Ben Harris.

“He’s designed some specifically for this bar, in particular the Old Nick Fashioned,” Norman Hill said.

The bar is in the former A Cleaner World space at Lowes Food Plaza. The strip mall has had several vacancies in the last few years but may experience revitalization with the presence of the pub and the recently renovated Lowes Food supermarket.

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