By Matthew Lardie | Photography by John Michael Simpson
The inspiration behind The Beagle – a new cocktail bar in downtown Pittsboro – was really quite simple.
“We wanted a place to hang out, eat delicious food and enjoy cocktails with friends. One that was walking distance from our house!” says co-owner Leslie Cox. She and her husband, chef Brendan Cox, also own Oakleaf, a high-end restaurant in Carrboro, and their latest endeavor adds to Pittsboro’s growing nightlife scene with a relaxing place to gather over craft cocktails and curated small plates.
“We love the town. And we were incredibly sad for Oakleaf to leave Pittsboro three years ago,” Leslie says. “We had actually looked at The Beagle space 10 years ago when we were first looking for a location for Oakleaf, and we adored the tiny, historic building. But the space was too small to be a restaurant so we kept looking. When the space at 53 Hillsboro St. became available again, we just couldn’t resist it.”
The entrepreneurial couple says the continued development of the area prompted their decision to open The Beagle this summer. “Now is the time to make moves to create a downtown area that is vibrant, inviting and provides entertainment opportunities,” she insists.
The Beagle offers a range of both classic and innovative drinks, with mainstays like the French 75, Boulevardier and a gin rickey found alongside original creations such as The Retriever (a whisky-citrus punch accented by warming baking spices) and The Bird Dog (a country ham wash Old-Fashioned with rosemary, orange and maple syrup).
When it comes to nosh, Leslie and Brendan built a menu based on not having a full kitchen and focused on what they enjoy – like chilled seafood, local vegetables and a selection of sandwiches. There’s an entire charcuterie section as well, including a whole menu dedicated to artisanal country hams.
As the year goes on, Leslie says The Beagle will be involved with the community and offer new opportunities for customers. “We are excited for lots of great events at The Beagle,” she says, “cocktail classes, wine tastings, holiday parties and partnering with local animal rescues and shelters to make life better for animals and people.”