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Westport's NEAT Reopens After Renovations

NEAT staff Trevor Rosetta, Sandra Walimaki and Nathan Francis pose for a picture at the bar Thursday.
NEAT staff Trevor Rosetta, Sandra Walimaki and Nathan Francis pose for a picture at the bar Thursday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday.
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday.
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday.
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday.
NEAT, a local Westport eatery, plans to officially reopen with a public event this Saturday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

WESTPORT, Conn. — Rachel Haughey, owner of NEAT on Wilton Road in Westport, is aware of all the possible meanings of her establishment’s name — from tidy to cool to ordering a drink without ice or a mixer.

NEAT, of course, could also refer to changes that her combination coffee shop, bar and restaurant recently underwent after a renovation.

While the doors are open this week — a soft opening of sorts — NEAT will officially celebrate its reopening with a public reception this Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m.

Once an eatery with a darker interior, the inside has taken on a lighter decor with the walls and bar painted a fresh white.

Haughey has also overhauled the menu. She brought in new barstools, and some new tables are on the way.

But she said it was a challenge figuring out a design that would appeal to customers visiting at different times for different kinds of drinks.

“We are a place that operates during the day and the evening,” Haughey told The Daily Voice. “It’s a tricky thing to design for a concept like that.”

So she worked with designer to create a space that would bridge the gap between those environments.

“You’d be just as likely to have a morning coffee [here] as a cocktail pre- or post-dinner,” she said.

Originally a fire house, NEAT’s brick building bears the name “Vigilant Fire Co. No. 3.”

According to Haughey, it has also housed a pizza place and a kitchen showroom.

Unlike NEAT’s Darien location, the Westport location also serves up liquor. A long bar —  complete with available power outlets —  runs down the wall opposite the front entrance.

The bar setup, she said, has also allowed them to be creative with their drinks. Bartenders try to sometimes concoct non-alcoholic drinks in a way one would see a cocktail prepared, according to Haughey.

Haughey says she soon plans to roast coffee in Connecticut —  currently she roasts it in Brooklyn —  and that she plans to expand sometime in the future.

“We are looking to further expand,” she said, hinting that more NEAT things are in store.

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