If you tap it, will they come?
Local entrepreneurs Chris Stone and Amie Hoff will find out Saturday when they open the Eighteen-0-Three Taproom, located at 123 Harding Way E. (the former Uptowne Outfitters).
According to Stone, Eighteen-0-Three is not a restaurant or a bar.
A “taproom” serves micro craft beer, and Stone and Hoff say there’s nothing quite like this between Columbus and Cleveland. The business name is a reference to the year Ohio was founded and all the beer they will be selling is made in Ohio.
They will have 12 taps with rotating beers, including brews from Phoenix in Mansfield and JAFB in Wooster. There will also be a small wine selection from Wyandotte (the company happens to make an apple wine using apples from an orchard in Mansfield).
Stone is also proud that they will serve Land Grant, a Columbus brewery that opened last October. He said the owners there were a big help to him, and they are working on a special recipe for Eighteen-0-Three’s grand opening.
“Our goal is to make these breweries partners,” Stone said. “We’ll have special events and bring in heads from the breweries to talk about their products while people sample them. The craft beer industry is catching on and I’m excited because it’s not a traditional bar scene.”
Stone also believes Crawford County would do well with hops production (one of the primary ingredients in beer). He suggested that local farmers connect with the craft beer industry.
The son of a construction worker, Stone helped with the renovations to the building, which started in early June. Local contractors and businesses were used for the project.
Two large display windows flank the front door. At the entrance is a large, open room with bar seating on the left wall and handmade picnic tables on the right.
Straight back is the service bar with a ceramic tile top that looks like barn wood. There is an exposed cooler behind it that stands ten feet wide and goes nearly to ceiling. The cooler feeds nitrogen and carbon dioxide to the beer taps.
There is no seating where the drinks are poured, and Stone said this is intentional.
“What kind of experience do you want? Don’t judge us just because you see a bar,” he emphasized. “This is a place where you can have a couple of beers that you’ve never heard of, in more of an upscale environment.”
They will host live music acts, mostly acoustic, and offer sidewalk seating (if the city modifies the codified ordinances to allow it). Eventually, they would like to add a patio behind the building.
Stone and Hoff both have young children and they hope to make this a family-friendly business. There is a nook where kids’ games and puzzles will be available.
While Eighteen-0-Three will not have a kitchen, it will have food catered by Phil’s Deli, as well as popcorn and kettle chips.
The business passed its health inspection last week, and on July 16 the Division of Liquor Control issued a liquor license.
“The City has been tremendous to work with. Hugely supportive,” Stone said. “All of this has been a learning process for me…We’ve gotten a lot of positive response so far. My hope is that people see there’s opportunity here.”
Their ultimate goal is to make Uptowne Galion a destination again by partnering with community organizations. For example, the Brush and Palette Art Gallery is providing some decorations and the Galion Historical Society is working on displays to complement the historic building.
For individuals who want to be a “partner,” they are offering a Founders Club to the first 50 people to sign up. Members will get a personalized mug, discounted beer and invitations to special events.
For more information, visit Eighteen-0-Three’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/1803taproom?fref=ts.