There’s been a bit of a buzz starting downtown about what’s going on behind the stark exterior wall at 417 E. Third Street. It’s a building you barely take note of, being attached to the long beige, stucco expanse of the KK building. A storefront that once existed, has been completely stucco’d over and painted gray, just sitting there waiting, right across the street from the old Wympee Diner on Third… another building that just a couple years ago, looked just as abandoned and neglected.
Kimberly Collett had a vision for what that old greasy, empty diner could be and we followed her through eight months of gutting and remodeling before she finally opened Olive, an urban dive, inside it, leaving the exterior exactly as it’s been since 1938. Olive is just over a year and a half into their stride and it just keeps getting better… from the quality of the dishes, to the size of their following. And one day, in a flash of inspiration, while standing in a shop in South Carolina, Kimberly had an idea for the building just across the street, that has stood empty, for the last ten years. For the last seven months she’s been honing the concept, working with the city and the building’s owner, Mike Wenzler, to pave the way for The Barrel House. But knowing she had her hands full with Olive and her construction company, Dayton Tradesource, she had to bring in someone else to partner and manage this new idea and asked her cousin, Jeff Heater, a craft beer enthusiast, to come home from Maine and lead the charge.
They describe The Barrel House as, “a coffee shop for beer, no coffee… just beer”, though it’s really much more. Once complete, you’ll enter the new storefront and be immediately greeted by a ‘coffee shop feeling’ lounge, with deep couches and vintage furniture. As you move further in, the space transitions into a retail shop filled with shelves and custom displays of bottled beer and wine, there’s also space for local art, beer and wine related locally made gifts, party supplies, chips, salsas, and hot sauces. Then there’s the centerpiece on the back wall, 15-20 taps for popular and eclectic, craft micro-brews from around the world, that you can carry-out in growlers.
Originally, The Barrel House was just going to be a carry-out and community area, but with no carry-out beer licenses left downtown, The Barrel House will be applying for a full restaurant liquor license, marrying the two businesses together in a symbiotic relationship, where Olive will supply the food portion of light fare and desserts and The Barrel House will be an overflow and waiting space for Olive guests, as well as an old world style, community pub, where you can meet friends for a carry-out lunch from Olive, hold a client meeting over a pint of beer, or just sit in the sunbeams streaming through the windows with a good book and a glass of wine. There will be tastings, gathering events, and collaborations, with as many local vendors as possible
If all goes well, Heater hopes to open The Barrel House in sync with patio season, but having just been through this two years ago, Kimberly smiles as she looks at Jeff and says, ‘I’ve learned not to say when and Jeff watched everything I went through with Olive, so…” and Jeff finishes the sentence with, “we’ll see!”
In talking with Jeff, it’s easy to hear the enthusiasm in his voice. He’s been working on site, doing the demolition, tearing down drywall and plaster down to reveal brick. He’s found three different electrical panels that reveal some of the history of the building, i.e. labels for a jukebox and bar in one and in another bar lights and a back bar. While tearing out some old shelving he even found a phone number for Heidelberg Distributing written on the wall. So while not the first bar that will inhabit this space, this rendition won’t be your average neighborhood bar either. Heater is looking forward to sharing his love of craft beer and expand the palate of his guests.
Jeff’s excitement when talking about Ohio beers is contagious. His knowledge of the Ohio beer scene was honed while spending 9 years living in Columbus and he is looking forward to being able to showcase some of the specialty brews from places like the Columbus Brewing Company and even some Cleveland breweries. There are still a lot of hoops to jump through, but soon enough, Jeff will be inviting us to grab a seat on the couch, dial up the wifi, sample a Saison (his favorite beer style) and become part of the casual, comfy community he and Kimberly hope to create on their little corner of Third and Wayne.
While you’re waiting for them to open be sure and like their Facebook page so you can watch the progress of the construction and be in the know for their opening plans.