Beer & Wine

NightLife Brewing Company Coming to Marlins Park

There's nothing better than Miami baseball and a cold beer — especially when that beer is brewed fresh and local and right at the ballpark.

NightLife Brewing Company cofounder Juan O'Naghten announced yesterday that he and partner John Cooper signed a lease for a 9,728-square-foot brewing space on the first floor at Home Plate Garage, known as P1, at Marlins Park, located at 1588 NW Seventh St. 

At least 1,500 square feet will be dedicated for a taproom with outside seating area, with the rest for brewing space and offices, O'Naghten tells New Times. Getting the location wasn't exactly easy, he says. Both he and Cooper looked elsewhere, but nothing went through. Instead, they focused on promoting their beers for three years at various events around the city. Eventually, their patience was rewarded. 

"This fell in our laps last year," O'Naghten says. "We kept it quiet as much as possible." Why the secrecy? O'Naughten says it's because of "nameless competitors."

Getting the space took roughly nine months, starting in June 2015, with approvals steadily making their way through Miami's government before the final consent. The duo also had to get approval from the Marlins team itself. 

Cooper also attributes his brewery's success to the work of previous breweries that came before NightLife and helped pave the way within Miami city government for future operations. Now, Cooper says, the city wants to help them get up and running. Both say they are shooting for a 2017 opening, possibly before the beginning of the MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Stadium. "After all the breweries did the trailblazing, it's relatively easier," Cooper says.

One of the more notable features of the brewery is that it has covered parking, so you'll never have to be wet. The first hour is free, Cooper says, then customers will be charged $1 per hour. 

No word on how big the brewing system will be, although O'Naghten tells the New Times that NightLife will have three flagship brews: a hefeweizen, saison, and brown ale. Prior to the brewery announcement, NightLife bottled a 90 Mile American Pale Ale in collaboration with Lincoln, Nebraska-based Blue Blood Brewing Company that was available in Nebraska. It got to be known there as the "Cuban beer," since it was brewed, bottled, and marketed by O'Naghten, who is Cuban. 

For the partners, the brewery is their foray into Miami's craft beer industry. O'Naghten is a former U.S. Army paratrooper and UM alumnus. Cooper comes from a bartending background and currently bartends at Beaker and Gray in Wynwood. Cooper wants to tap into his behind-the-bar knowledge to create one-of-a-kind craft brews.  "I'm real curious how it all works out," he says. "Brewing beer helped me earn a spot on some great bars. I'm really curious to see how bartending influences my beer making."

O'Naghten says the venue has yet to be built out, although he adds he's looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between the brewery and the Marlins. He's received a lot of feedback so far. "The space is going to be beneficial to not only us but to the city," O'Naghten says. "They're looking forward to something new other than a Wendy's and Subway."
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Minsky is a U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He has also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky