Head downtown for a Nightcap—Nightcap by Merge, that is.
Have you heard the latest buzz? Nightcap by Merge is shaking things up and bringing a whole new vibe to downtown Harrisonburg's dining scene! Imagine this: a cozy wine bar that feels like your go-to corner coffee shop but with an added touch of sophistication. It's the perfect fusion of elegance and comfort, where fine wines mingle seamlessly with that warm, inviting ambiance we all crave. Say goodbye to ordinary nights out and hello to a whole new level of indulgence – Nightcap by Merge is where it's at! Trust us, you won't want to miss out on this exciting new spot in town.
Family-owned and award-winning coffee company, Merge Coffee, has transformed their downtown roasting lab into your new favorite evening hangout—Nightcap by Merge.
The transition into this new venture from co-owners, cousins—Darryl and Charles Matthews, and sisters—Emily and Larisa Martin, came to fruition in December of 2023 and has been met with rave reviews.
With a focus on celebrating diversity, inclusion, and community, Nightcap by Merge delights through its inviting environment and unique ambiance while the custom menu of cocktails and specialty food plates speak for themselves and will have you coming back for more!
Read on for some insider info direct from the source and check out our chat with co-owner Darryl Matthews, below. >>>
Q: What inspired the transition from Merge Coffee to Nightcap by Merge at your downtown location?
Darryl: Our downtown Merge Coffee location has undergone many changes over the past few years. We opened it right as the pandemic started (March 2020) as a full service coffee shop, then converted it to a hybrid shop and coffee roastery. After that we converted fully to doing our wholesale coffee production there but always knew that wasn’t going to be the end solution. The space is far too beautiful for that.
Q: What can people expect to find or experience at Nightcap?
Darryl: Our vision for Nightcap is to create a cozy, chic space that bridges the gap between sophistication and comfort. We want our guests to feel at home while enjoying handcrafted beverages, local wines and beers, and elevated bar foods that perfectly complement their drink of choice.
Q: What is your favorite/most popular cocktail on the menu?
Darryl: Our drinks consist of interesting craft beers, curated wines from across the country, and house made wine based cocktails. Our cocktails use fortified wines as the base. Fortified wines are a category of wine that has been strengthened or "fortified" by the addition of a distilled spirit, typically a grape brandy. This fortification process serves several purposes, including increasing the alcohol content of the wine, enhancing its flavor, and increasing its shelf life. Fortified wines are enjoyed for their diverse range of flavors, which can vary from dry and nutty to sweet and rich. This allows us to create dynamic mixed drinks with depth. Our most popular are our hot honey margarita and our ginger bee.
Q: What is your favorite/most popular food item on the menu?
Darryl: Our goal for our food is to provide dynamic, tasty bites in our tiny kitchen. Lots of fusion food on our menu. Our most popular item is probably our shrimp tempura tacos. It’s and excellent fusion of Mexican and Asian flavor profiles. A Hawaiian Tortilla, Crispy Shrimp tempura, Japanese Bachan sauce, salsa verde, house made pico de Gallo, and a sprinkle of togarashi.
Q: What is your favorite thing about this new venture into Nightcap?
Darryl: I personally love that we can continue to extend the hospitality that we are known for at our coffee shops to a new demographic of people. It gives us a creative outlet that brings people together and makes them happy.
Q: Do you have any plans for future expansion?
Darryl: It’s been a little over a month since we started this venture so no clear plans on expansion. But we are always open to opportunity.