On October 31st, the Brewery District will become 50 beer taps and 500 beer varieties richer. World of Beer will open their doors at 503 South Front Street at 3pm that day to Facebook friends and the following day to the general public. The new bar was built specifically to appeal to enthusiasts who appreciate a wide selection of craft beers, microbreweries and uncommon imported beers.
We recently spoke with Mark Pottschidt, one of three founding partners at World of Beer to find out more about this new venue.
Q: Can you first tell us a bit about your personal and professional background and what got you interested in opening this type of beer-centric establishment?
A: I have a real estate background. I was with Continental Real Estate Companies for ten years then left to start Stanbery Development in 2000 with my current partner Jon Meyer. We developed 11 retail centers since 2000 including The Promenade at Coconut Creek located just north of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The tenant mix there included a World of Beer and the more I learned about the concept, the more I liked the idea. I have no experience in the restaurant business, so knowing Darren Greene from Polaris Grill, I asked if he would be interesting in partnering up. After a fact-finding trip to Tampa to “kick the tires” we both decided to move forward and signed a franchise agreement last summer.
Q: What made you decide that Columbus would be a good fit for this concept?
A: There are 15 WOB’s in Florida and the Brewery District location will be the first one to open outside of the Sunshine State. Florida is a wonderful place to drink beer, but Ohio has the second per capita consumption of beer in the US, so we are thinking that Ohio is an even better place to enjoy great beer. Additionally, Ohio has a much larger selection of craft and import beers. Our Florida friends can’t believe how many great beers we have to choose from.
Q: The Brewery District was the hottest entertainment and nightlife venue in the late 90s and early 2000s, but things died out shortly after that. What drew you to want to open in the Brewery District?
A: I originally approached Bill Schottenstein to sell him on the idea of investing with us and it didn’t take long for him to sell us on the idea of the Brewery District location. Shadowbox Live is right next door to us in this beautiful historic building.
Q: So do you think that area is in the process of bouncing back as a nightlife district?
A: Shadowbox Live is already a great draw for the Brewery Distirct and we are extremely pleased to share the building with them. Their entire cast and crew have a dedicated following that continues to grow show by show and it all stems from their charismatic leader Stev Guyer. Any concerns that we had about the area disappeared after one meeting with Stev. He immediately recognized the upside of providing food to our patrons and agreed to have a direct connection from their kitchen into our space so their servers can wait tables at WOB just like they do at the Back Stage Bistro. In addition to Shadowbox, we have arrangements with Claddagh’s, Plank’s and T. Murray’s to carry some of their menu items so that our customers can enjoy having these great food options delivered right to their table at World of Beer.
Q: So it sounds like your main focus is obviously on beer. Can you tell us a bit about what types of beers can be found in the lineup?
A: We will carry 500 different bottles and 50 different taps, all crafts and imports. The selection is ever-changing, so we will be announcing new bottle arrivals on a weekly basis, and our draft selection will change nightly. My personal favorites are constantly changing, but my go-to beer is Pilsner Urquell, a great Czech pilsner. For a heartier beer I like Ommegang Brewery’s Three Philosphers belgian-style blend (Quadrupel) or Dogfish 90 Minute IPA. Now, if it is cold and gray outside, I may go for a Carib, a pale lager from Trinidad so that I can pretend I’m sitting on a Caribbean beach.
Q: I imagine some local beers will also be featured?
A: We want to have as many locals as we can. Our opening list will have selections from Hoster’s, which built and owned our building 130 years ago, as well as selections from Elevator Brewing, Columbus Brewing Company, Great Lakes, Mount Carmel and Christian Moerlein Brewing Company.
Q: What will World of Beer be doing for musical or live entertainment?
A: We will have lots of live music for the opening week and then settle into a regular live music schedule on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We currently have a deal with Colin Gawel to play each Thursday from 5:30pm to 7pm… kind of a “musician in residence”! We also have plans to bring back Brewmasters Gate for special events such as Octoberfest, St. Patrick’s Day, away OSU games and other music events. We might even possibly start with the Michigan game. We would love to get some input on other event and music ideas from Columbus Underground readers.
Q: Any big plans for the grand opening celebration?
A: We will be opening on Monday, October 31st for all of our friends on Facebook, so be sure to like us. We will open to all of our other friends on Tuesday, November 1st. We will likely have a full blown grand opening party later in November and we will post all of the details on Facebook.