Opening date set for Middle West Spirits’ Service Bar

Written by on September 19, 2017 in Bars, Liquor - No comments

The long-awaited bar and restaurant from Middle West Spirits finally has an opening date: Thursday, October 5.

“We dubbed it The Service Bar and built the space around the idea of honoring the craft of imbibing, the moment in which somebody either orders their drink from the bar or runs it from the bar to a table,” said Middle West Spirits co-owner Brady Konya. “It was so perfectly suited for a space in a distillery.”

The centerpiece of the new space is a beautiful bar from the 1870s from Cincinnati-based furniture producer Brunswick.

“In the house of a maker, to have a bar like this that’s just so exquisite, that’s my favorite part of The Service Bar,” said Konya. “I still pinch myself every time I walk in.”

Former Veritas Tavern chef Avishar Barua was brought on to run The Service Bar’s kitchen. A media preview for the new restaurant featured snacks like pulled pork sandwiches, deviled eggs and caramel cheese corn with candied bacon.

“Avishar has created a menu that feels very modern and contemporary and technical but is also really nostalgic and accessible,” said Konya.

Behind the bar, Beverage Director Jared Goody has created a cocktail program to compliment what’s coming out of the kitchen, what Konya describes as ‘contemporary American with a nostalgic twist.’ Specialty cocktails previewed at the media event included Strawberry Feels Forever (OYO vodka, limoncello, strawbery, basil, lemon and a kick of jalapeno) and Endless Summer (Vim & Petal gin, St. Germain, ginger brandy, cucumber, mint, green tea and ginger beer).

“We really challenged both Avishar and Jared to infuse their individual point of views in the launch menus,” said Konya. “It’s not just Middle West that’s being presented, they really have the chance to be our right and left arm for the way that we think about enjoying OYO in the glass and how it translates into food.”

The restaurant was originally slated to open last fall shortly after the distillery unveiled more than $3 million in updates to their Short North distillery. Regulatory concerns (i.e. kitchens have fire, fire + ethanol = bad) as well as budget overages from the construction of the distillery pushed the project back.

“The kind of conversations that we had to navigate from a design, engineering, construction, permitting and approvals process was unlike anything anybody has had to go through in the state of Ohio, and hopefully that process will be easier for other companies going forward,” said Konya.

Until legislation passed in May 2016, Ohio distilleries were not permitted to operate an on-premises taproom, something Ohio breweries and wineries had been able to do for several years. Fellow Central Ohio distillery Watershed Distillery already took advantage of the change in legislation with the opening of their own bar and restaurant late last year.

The Service Bar and Middle West Spirits are located at 1230 Cortland Avenue.

About the Author

Cheryl Harrison. Editor of Drink Up Columbus. Geek of the craft beer/board game/sci-fi varieties. Fan of patios.

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