On first glance, the old, dusty warehouse across the railroad tracks on West Main Street seems like a building most would endeavor to avoid. On second glance, one might spot a small sign hanging above an ancient, wooden door.
The door, worn and discolored with age, has delicate stained glass windows, and warm light glows out of each. Muffled sounds of laughter and clinking glasses whisper from around the edges. On the small sign, now in plain view, is a carving of a dragon: a fierce green dragon.
The Green Dragon Public House opened on March 5, 2014, and has gained a lot of attention from the Murfreesboro community.
“My wife and I had the idea of what we wanted The Green Dragon to be,” said Joe Minter, owner of The Green Dragon. “We originally wanted to appeal to Tolkien fans; now the entire community supports us.”
The Green Dragon was built in the old, dilapidated Rutherford County Creamery, and the Minters had to completely renovate the space the pub currently occupies.
“We had to build the bar, the bathroom and put in the window,” Minter said. “It’s a decrepit building, but it’s a little less decrepit now.”
The Green Dragon consists of a single room with scuffed wooden floors and creamy beige walls. Each wall is covered with faded paintings of fantastical creatures, pictures from customers and ancient maps of Middle Earth.
“We found most of our maps and relics at antique stores.” said Kimberly Minter, Joe’s wife and co-owner of The Green Dragon. “The rest of our décor was donated.”
The Minters emphasize a family atmosphere within the pub. Nestled in the far side of the room is an alcove fondly referred to as the “kid’s corner.” The corner, which has wall-to-wall shelves filled with books and games, is a place for children to play together.
Griffin, Kimberly and Joe Minter’s son, was the inspiration for the cozy corner.
“My son, Griffin, needed a place to stay after school while we worked.” Kimberly said. “The corner lets parents relax without having to constantly keep their children entertained.”
Other than the bar, The Green Dragon only has six tables for customers to sit. This can make finding a seat on Friday and Saturday nights difficult. To fully enjoy the pub, the best time to go is during the afternoon or early evening.
The Green Dragon also offers a full menu of handcrafted meals. Choices range from French dip sandwiches to Kimberly’s famous homemade soups.
“This is my place to grab a drink, stuff my face and decompress after work.” said Kacey Tollett, a Green Dragon regular. “I recommend the Ploughman’s Lunch to satisfy your cheese craving for a month.”
Unfortunately, while the menu selection is great, college students may want to look elsewhere to enjoy a few brews. Pints at The Green Dragon run anywhere from $5 to $8, which can prove more than a typical college budget can handle.
Mixed among the crowd of shouting revelers, laughing families and bustling barkeeps are newcomers to the unusual Lord of the Rings themed pub.
“My sister said, ‘You have to come with me!’” said Mathew Hale, a visitor to Murfreesboro and stranger to The Green Dragon. “She’s a big fan of this stuff. I just keep waiting for a hobbit to walk through the door.”
In fact, dressing up in Middle Earthen garb is encouraged, and the staff will honor any fantastical costume with a parade around the pub.
The essence of The Green Dragon does not lie in its food, décor or uniqueness. It does not come from its eccentric theme or malty brews. The essence of The Green Dragon lies within the people who collect there, and the stories and merriment they share with one another.
There is only one word to describe The Green Dragon Public House: Magical.