Walk into Still Water Taproom on any given night and you’ll likely see Matt Flynn inside.
It’s not unusual to find Flynn standing at the front of his bar talking to customers as though they’re friends. During the past decade, many of them have become friends.
“Matt loves hanging out and being around folks,” said Barry Blackston, who co-owns Still Water with Flynn. “He thoroughly enjoys it.”
The pair opened the bar in June 2003 in a storefront on Broad Street between Ninth and 10th streets.
Friends for 25 years, Flynn and Blackston first got their feet wet in the downtown Augusta business scene by opening Nacho Mama’s in 1996 and Blue Sky Kitchen in 2000.
In almost 18 years of doing business together, Blackston said he and Flynn have never gotten into a disagreement.
“Matt’s a good friend,” he said. “He’s just as good as they get.”
Flynn, born in Knoxville, Tenn., moved with his family to Augusta when he was 4 years old. While he spent some time in Virginia in the 1980s, Flynn said he considers Augusta his hometown.
He got his start in the restaurant industry cooking and waiting tables at several local establishments, including French Market Grille, Calvert’s and The King George Restaurant and Pub, which has since closed.
After Flynn and Blackston opened their first two restaurants, the friends were looking for a new project. The idea for Still Water began to take shape during a hiking trip in the Great Smoky Mountains.
“We would always go into Asheville (N.C.) and spend a day or two there,” Flynn said. “There were a few bars up there that we really enjoyed going to.”
The bars had a rustic feel and specialized in live bluegrass music, something Flynn made sure to incorporate at Still Water.
“People don’t really realize that they like that until they get out and see it,” he said of the genre. “I like the bands in the
window, too. It’s visible when you’re walking down the street and you see somebody playing.”
Flynn is instrumental in booking bands at the bar, Blackston said.
“He loves music,” he said. “He likes beer, too.”
For Flynn, serving beer from breweries within the state, such as Sweetwater, Terrapin and Monday Night Brewing, is important.
The bar has 18 beers on tap and has added craft beer to the list, Flynn said.
The 2,000-square-foot bar is two levels, with pool tables, dart boards and a foosball table upstairs. A wooden mermaid, which Flynn calls “our lady of Still Water,” that was carved by a local chainsaw artist is mounted on the second floor and watches over patrons.
“We wanted it to be a comfortable, inviting place, and I think we’ve kind of succeeded in that,” Flynn said.
In Flynn’s spare time, he enjoys playing in disc golf tournaments across the country. His biggest triumph came locally in 2009
when he won the Hall of Fame Classic after competing with about 30 people in his division.