Barrelhouse is located in The State Street Strip between Wells Cleaners and Land vs Ocean and Campbell’s Bakery.

Twenty three: the number of restaurants, bars, bakeries and coffee shops in the downtown Fondren historic district.

Make that twenty four.

Marty Clapton has announced today the addition of Fondren’s newest eatery, slated to open by the end of the year.

Barrelhouse will occupy a 5,000 square foot section of Fondren’s historic Strip at 3009 North State Street next to Campbell’s Bakery.

The gastropub will feature live local music on the weekends and will center around bourbon and whiskey-based cocktails, 12 draft beers and wine, and a decidedly Southern menu.

“Poboys, Gulf seafood, a Mississippi tomato sandwich, burgers and grilled cheese are just some of the menu ideas we’re working on,” Clapton explained during a walk through over the weekend.

Work has been ongoing to the former Castle House Antiques for almost a year, stripping back years of wear and tear, yet uncovering what will become Barrelhouse’s signature architectural feature.


Steel trusses exposed once the drop ceiling was pulled back. Image: Marty Clapton

“The inside of the building has 75 foot steel trusses, really making it a unique building right in the heart of the Fondren strip,” Clapton says. Add to that the plaster covered brick walls, eroded over time, that are being fortified, creating a weathered interior facade.

Up front, where plate glass windows once butted up to the sidewalk, Clapton is pushing a cinder block wall back ten to twelve feet to create a covered outdoor patio. Once inside the front door, a performance area takes center stage, large booths will mix with tables to create cozy seating areas and a long bar with reclaimed Mississippi Delta cypress will line the back.

While parking is at a premium in the neighborhood, especially on the restaurant’s side of the street, Clapton is optimistic and has been working to overcome the challenge. “We’ve been, over time, adding concrete slag to the back parking lot, behind the Strip, to build that up,” he tells. “We’ll have security cameras on the buildings and a well-lit rear entrance to make it easy to get in here.”

Why a restaurant for this former hockey player turned Realtor®? He says, “I was trying to lease this space on behalf of the ownership group and I started running numbers on renovating it. I just decided to take it on myself.”

Clapton plans for a December 2015 opening.


Interior rendering by Scott Allen