In the town of Belmont, just one county over and about eight minutes west from the edge of the city on I-85, a quaint Main Street is lined with businesses, restaurants and a park with a fountain. Named one of the “Coolest Suburbs in America” by Apartment Therapy last summer, the progressive thinking not normally found in typical Southern towns guides its charms and unique business endeavors.
Near the railroad track that divides downtown is a 1915 former depot that houses South Main Cycles in the back and a craft beer and food joint called Station in the front. Station features rotating draft selections, a cooler of specialty bottled and canned beers, curated wine offerings, select cocktails and an outdoor kitchen cooking up variations of curry and quesadillas. Found running back and forth between the outdoor patio, taps and grill and the indoor bar is Mike McSherry.
McSherry found himself in Belmont by way of NoDa. Hailing from Massachusetts then spending time in Virginia, Florida and Virginia again, McSherry moved in with some friends and a former bandmate behind the Johnston YMCA in 2015 and eventually began working as a barback at NoDa Brewing.
The group later moved together to Sam Wilson Road in northwest Charlotte, as they couldn’t jam together in NoDa without pissing off the neighbors, and McSherry became that much closer to Gaston County. Then, as his roommates went their separate ways, McSherry continued west, moving to Belmont with his sister and her husband. He started on the other side of the bar, as a regular at the now-nearby Station, then made his way behind the stick in spring 2017.
When I met with McSherry, I sat at the end of the bar soon after Station opened and watched it quickly fill with regulars and new faces. One regular named David, who works across the street at Cherubs Café — a cafe run by Holy Angels that provides workplace opportunities for the differently abled — is well-known and well-loved, personifying the community culture and sense of belonging that Station offers.
Between McSherry’s interactions with customers, often pouring beers before they were ordered, he graciously answered a few of my questions, while pouring me a cranberry sour he was certain I would love (he was right).
Queen City Nerve: How did you end up at Station?
McSherry: When I first saw heard of Station, I was like “A bike shop that serves beer?!” and became a regular every Thursday, sometimes more. I joked around with the bartenders about getting a job here and eventually they gave me a shot and here we are, two-and-a-half years later.
Gaston County has a different drinking reputation than Charlotte. What kinds of beers are you pouring?
It really just depends. I like getting to know people and what they are looking for. We always keep the same styles on draft: IPAs, sours, porters and seasonals as well as lagers and pilsners. We change up the breweries to get a good mix. Lots of folks end up with our seasonals.
What makes Station unique?
Station is like a home to me, but not just me; it’s home to many locals and even Charlotte residents. We all know each other really well. We have lots of parties, like our ’80s- and ’90s-themed parties and a decked-out Halloween party. We see a lot of growth and we are never afraid to try new things. Our owners have helped build great relationships with breweries and are often willing to drive to get what we need. We listen to what the public is asking for and most of the time if someone asks for it, they get it.
After you’re finished serving beers to what seems like all of Gaston County, what is your drink of choice?
Well, at our holiday party it was half a bottle of Bacardi and too many beers to count. But if it’s a typical day, it’s pretty seasonal, which is probably why I guide so many people in that direction. In the winter it’s a porter or stout, the spring it’s IPAs, and sours in summer. Occasionally I’ll go for a pumpkin in fall or a Christmas ale. It all varies depending on the time of year.
What do you do when you’re not hustling behind the bar?
I spend a lot of time exercising. And now, after moving to a bigger house right in Gastonia, I’ve got a new music studio, so I spend a lot of time on my keyboard writing music and singing. I’m really lucky — I’m almost always doing something I love.