Spend a lazy Saturday or a lively Tuesday night in Downtown’s Backyard. Catch a live show, chill in a hammock, enjoy food hot off of the grill, sample hand-crafted cocktails and local beers, feast on fabulous restaurant fare, or play backyard games. A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard continues to expand to offer Huntsville more of what it loves about the vibrant, funky space. Owner Doug Smith, who earned his business chops with his recording studio Sound Cell, is realizing a dream. What was once a mismatched and ill-cared for collection of buildings is now an entertainment complex featuring five bars, four stages, a top notch restaurant, dreamy event spaces and room for patrons to relax and roam while they discover the treasures of “The Lumberyard.”
The Lumberyard Kitchen is under the direction of chef Ruth Mercado popular with locals for her earlier concepts Sandwich Farm and Three Skillets. The Lumberyard Kitchen provides a la carte dining in the Tap Room, a grill on the Platform Patio, and a portable steam table providing “Smokestacks” –a Lumberyard original and a Filipino take on the traditional “Meat and Three.” In-house preparation and fresh ingredients are the hallmark of this evolving menu. Food is served until 1 a.m. six days a week. The popular brunch menu is available Tuesday through Sunday and the space’s dining areas are only outnumbered by the 30 beers on tap.
Guests are encouraged to roam the offbeat, smoke-free space and soak in its eclectic vibe. Lush houseplants, some over 30 years old and six feet tall, interspersed with the trickle of fountains add to the relaxed, backyard feel. The historic shed porches that line the courtyard bring to mind a pickers paradise. Exploration is encouraged. Patrons can transition easily from bar to bar, from dining room to gaming keeping the same tab. That’s because although it appears to be made up of a dozen different buildings, almost the entire block is now all one business thanks to the hard work and vision of Doug Smith. “We’ve created one of the most unique entertainment destinations in North Alabama,” said Smith, owner and visionary of A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard. “After years of planning, surmounting obstacles of building, licensing, staffing—topped off with uncountable hours of work and very countable dollars of investment The Lumberyard is about to explode on the scene as downtown’s favorite backyard.”
A little history: In 1895, A.M. Booth started his lumberyard and building-supply company near the now historic Huntsville Depot. In 1981, musician Doug Jansen Smith opened Sound Cell Recording on the same site. Twenty-six years later, with the neighborhood scarred by junkyards, Smith acquired a majority of the downtown block and began revitalizing the area.
By 2009, with several historic structures preserved, The Lumberyard became a one-of-a-kind special event venue.
In late 2015, Smith began the transition from event venue to a new concept when he teamed Chef Ruth Mercado to create a restaurant concept that would open The Lumberyard to the public on a daily basis. You may recall that Mercado’s restaurant Sandwich Farm was located adjacent to The Lumberyard space. The combination of their entrepreneurial concepts expanded the menu and allowed Mercado and Smith to bring all-day service to hungry visitors with the new and improved The Lumberyard Kitchen.
In February 2016, The Lumberyard opened The Kiln bar and the Platform Patio Grill. The Kiln earned its name because the 100-year old building was a wood-drying kiln in the early 1900’s. Smith and his team revived the space opening windows and shedding light into what had been a dark, smokey bar. Smith also added antique photos of the Huntsville’ Downtown Square in a nod to local history creating distinctive backdrop for the The Kiln’s stage. The Kiln offers a full bar with dining options and live music. The adjacent Platform patio grill is about to double in size with the addition of a new covered outside bar. This summer, renovation continues on the 1924 Pullman train car to create and additional unique dining experience.
The Lumberyard’s two-acre space is available for weddings and private parties and offers ample room for festivals and fundraisers. Smaller venues like The Hall cater to business lunches, rehearsal dinners and anything in between. Music remains the heartbeat of the restaurant/entertainment destination born from a musician’s dream and underpinning it all is the consistently fantastic menu patrons have come to expect. No doubt many in Huntsville would have to agree, The Lumberyard is Downtown’s favorite Backyard.
A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, 108 Cleveland Ave. NW, is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call 256-715-7130.