Partner Spotlight: Kirk McNeil, Area 23
New Hampshire Humanities thanks our many community partners who enable us to carry out our mission critical programs. In this issue we’d like to spotlight Kirk McNeil, proprietor of Concord’s Area 23 Craft Beer & Ciders and host of several of our Ideas on Tap programs.
Tell us a little bit about your background, Kirk.
I went to high school and college in the Carolinas and taught history for a couple of years. I worked in the tech industry in the early 90s doing business-to-business internet work for 20 years. I then moved to Michigan, and later to New Hampshire 11 years ago this spring. Five years ago in June I opened Area 23. My original plan was to open a brewery and brew pub but my plans evolved into creating a space for community, one that served up local music, local art, local beer. In addition to serving good food and drinks, there’s never a cover charge.
What sets your business apart?
We take customer suggestions to heart—I always say, if it’s worth trying, it’s worth trying three times! First, don’t sweat it; second time, work out the kinks; and third time, polish the plan. If it’s not working, let it go. I didn’t do the traditional things people say you have to do when you open an establishment like Area 23. I often ignored conventional wisdom and followed my instincts.
Why is it important for you to work with community partners like New Hampshire Humanities?
What I’m trying to do is offer opportunities for interaction that are not through a screen. I try to create community to get people to talk to each other face to face, not just through an electronic device. Anytime we have an opportunity to host an event where people can exchange ideas in a face to face conversation. People talk about the “third place” in people’s lives, a healthy place where you feel welcome and accepted and interact. Area 23 and New Hampshire Humanities plays into that—we want to foster that kind of community spirit. It’s what makes our community – and New Hampshire – a better place.
Thank you, Kirk!
Community events at Area 23, 254 N. State St., Concord:
Wednesday: Open mic
Thursday: Vinyl night
Friday: Live bands
Saturday: Live bands all day (2-5, 6-8 pm, and 9-12)
1st Sunday: Karaoke
2nd Sunday: Burritos for the homeless
3rd Sunday: Comedy
4th Sunday: TBD