Three Spirits Brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina, takes its name from the trio of ghosts in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” but it’s Ebenezer Scrooge that haunts the place. The brewery’s top-hatted logo is a nod to the notorious misanthrope, who is especially present in what founder Mwatabu “Tabu” Terrell calls “curmudgeon corners.”
Along one wall of the taproom, opposite the bar, is a row of L-shaped half walls. Tucked inside each is a pair of leather chairs, a small table between them. The inspiration for these curmudgeon corners came when Terrell would visit bars to watch his beloved Chicago Bears play, since he didn’t get the games at home.
“It never failed that somebody sat down next to me and wanted to become my best friend when I just wanted to have a beer and watch TV,” he says. “And I figured that there might be a few people who were kind of like me. Not exactly antisocial, but sometimes you just want to kind of chill and be around a big vibe but not be directly involved in it.”
These alcoves have proved popular with couples, people working on laptops and families with small children. But they’re perhaps best suited to those who want to enjoy a quiet pint without fear of sitting next to strangers blathering about the Bears, the beers, the weather or how their marriage is falling apart. In a world filled with so much noise, these curmudgeon corners provide a charm Scrooge himself couldn’t resist. –Daniel Hartis