A familiar name in Maryland brewing is coming to West Annapolis next summer.
RAR Brewing, the Cambridge-based brewery, will open its second location at 609 Melvin Ave. following a partial demolition and remodeling, said RAR co-founder and CEO Chris Brohawn.
The space was previously occupied by Mexican Cafe, which has permanently closed.
Brohawn co-founded RAR — it stands for Real Ale Revival — in 2013 with his business partner, J.T. Merryweather.
The pair have been looking to expand the business for several years dating before the coronavirus pandemic, Brohawn said. After deals fell through in Ocean City and Washington, D.C., they started to look at Annapolis.
After exploring locations downtown, they landed on West Annapolis.
“We’ve always loved Annapolis. We grew up in Cambridge and went to Annapolis on the weekends and know it very well. It just kind of felt right,” Brohawn said. “The location is great. The parking is insane ... and the deal just kind of came together.”
Demolition of the inside has already begun. Brohawn said he planned to keep the exterior structure while completing a full gut and remodeling of the indoor space. The mock-ups of the building, drafted by Hammond Wilson Architects, show a sleek modern design that features roll-up doors and ample outdoor seating space.
RAR will also offer indoor and outdoor bars, fire pits, and a restaurant and taproom that will host exclusive can releases from brewmaster Ben Quillen, and other events, Brohawn said.
West Annapolis has begun to undergo a gradual makeover in recent years as plans for new restaurants, shops and other businesses have gotten underway. Brohawn has partnered with MRE Properties, a commercial real estate investment and development firm based in Annapolis, on the deal.
MRE is also part of the planned expansion of Agave Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar, expected to open in the fall of 2022. The Delaware-based restaurant will occupy the first floor of a new mixed-use development at 106 Annapolis Street.
“It’s such an up-and-coming neighborhood,” Brohawn said of West Annapolis. “What we want to bring is the same thing we have in Cambridge, a hub for all things beverage.”