“For over 20 years Joe Head and I have toasted ‘to the light at the end of the tunnel.’ Today we feel like we are being blinded by that light.”
That’s how Diane Spitzig, co-owner of The Century Bar shared is feeling today, as they were unpacking all the bourbon and glassware into the new bar. The move, which was literally right next door to the building that housed The Century since 1942, has been planned for a while. The Century actually shut down on Dec 31st, 2019 and walking through it today, I’m amazed at just how small it really is.
One of the biggest questions everyone asked when hearing the bar was moving, was are you moving the bar. Technically it’s the bar back, constructed in 1862 as part of the Gibson Hotel in Cincinnati. It was brought to Dayton by Frank Steffen in the 1920’s. The carved maidens seem to hold up the stained glass dome lighting. The bar was taken apart, numbered, cleaned and moved piece by piece, and seeing it today, it looks even more spectacular in its new home.
Moving next door to 18 S. Jefferson Street will allow for a dozen more seats around the bar, more barrel seating, two large round tables on either side of the front doors with chandeliers hung above. They are also having another piece of the bar back replicated to expand across the larger bar. These finishing touches may not be ready when the doors open, but will be added over time.
Joe’s pride and joy, the One Man Bourbon Show Nerd Bar will sit on the south wall of the building. Here Joe will bring back his famed tastings and guests will have a chance to grab one of the 10 bar stools and just talk bourbon with him from 4-8pm Monday – Wednesday. On Thurday- Saturday, the stools will be sold as a $10 ticket via eventbrite for a 2 hour seating that includes your first drink. Sales will stop the night before, and if there are open seats guests will be able to sit at the nerd bar on a walk in basis.
Joe says he’s been saving bottles to fill these shelves for as long time and will feature very rare bourbons, private label bourbons from their own barrels and other surprises for the guests at his specialty bar.
Helping get things ready for the opening Joe called on a group of the Century Syndicate, an invite only group of regulars who helped them move up from the basement all the barstools, bottles and glassware that’s been in storage for the past month. Joe said that in 45 minutes they had made a huge dent and the bar was starting to take shape.
Today when I was there, folks were hanging speakers,
signs and lighting, washing glasses, assembling chandeliers and arranging bottles on the back bar.
One of the biggest worries folks have had, was will it still have the same atmosphere as the old place. I’d say it will have a familiar feeling, but better. There will be room to move around and double the number of bathrooms. Diane shared she’s so excited she’ll actually have an office in the new space.
In another couple of months the 2nd floor cocktail bar should be open and even better the 3rd floor event space won’t be far behind that. The event space should be able to seat about 120 or hold even more for cocktail parties.
As Tim, a long time Century bartender explained, “it’s like a whole new beginning, with every single inch of this place planned for what we want it to be. It’s so exciting to see it come to life.”
There will be 2 taps at either end of the bar, always featuring draft beers from Warped Wing and Branch and Bone.
By late afternoon today, it’s already beginning to look like home. Stay tuned to The Century Bar facebook page for an announcement about their opening!
Diane shared the old sign will be coming down and there is a new sign in the works for the building entry, but we’ll have to stay tuned to see what that looks like.