Labor Day marked the opening of Ohio State football, but it also brought the opening of World of Beer, a tavern chain, in the South Campus Gateway on North High Street.
World of Beer capitalizes on a vast, promising selection of stylized beers with a heavy focus on promoting local breweries and indulging their customers’ taste for craft beers and liquors.
At World of Beer’s VIP pre-opening, The Lantern got a sneak peak at a night of business. The live band — which performs every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night — played almost endlessly. From pop hits to classics, the acoustic set was a perfect compliment to the laid-back atmosphere and soft lighting that bathes the bar in an antique sort of way. Former OSU linebacker Bobby Carpenter was even there to christen the first opening of a craft beer keg with a wooden mallet and the honorary first pour.
It was easy to see that one could never run out of selections to fit any craving while at the World of Beer. Be it IPA’s, porters, stouts, lagers or ales. They have almost never-ending choices. But it doesn’t stop with just the alcohol. The food is geared toward sharable options that don’t skimp on quality. The giant German pretzel, for example, is hung from a stainless steel hook right at your table and is baked fresh and served with an in-house mustard and beer cheese.
Sitting down with owners Mark Pottschmidt and Darren Greene after the madness had died down, The Lantern got more information on what World of Beer is really all about.
“We’re a beer tavern. We have 500 bottled and 50 on tap at any one time, which rotate nightly,” Greene said, gesturing to the huge tap well behind the rustic marble-topped bar.
Building on Greene’s comment, Pottschmidt emphasized what they as a staff want to emphasize to patrons.
“World of Beer just has a passionate staff in regards to the beer and also likes to have a lot of fun,” Pottschmidt said. ”That’s a great combination for someone that’s looking to have a good beer.”
The sheer number of beers they have available begged the question of distribution — how it’s possible to get such a diverse selection of craft beers and liquors while keeping the cooler stocked.
“Well, we’re really the best of both worlds here,” Pottschmidt said. “Not only do we have local and national buying power but also a truly global one, too. From Pilsner Urquell in the Czech region to Bell’s brewery from up in Michigan, we get our beers from all over.”
Every month the bar rotates local Ohio brews that are available for $3 daily.
“There is always something new to try. We will never run out of beer,” Greene said. “We concentrate on the style of beer … it’s what we really stress and spend two weeks training our staff to become familiar with during what we call ‘Beer School.’”
Patrons can also join the loyalty program, where milestones in how many beers they’ve tried translates to rewards such as T-shirts and club polos. The owners are also planning on holding raffles to give keys away to patrons that unlock little lockers with beer-styled trinkets in them to take home for free.
Michael O’Shaughnessy, a sales representative for Cavalier Distribution, highlighted why he liked coming to World of Beer so much.
“This place really has some of the best – well, rather, many of the best beers in the world,” he said. “World of Beer is that type of bar that just celebrates that greatness in quality, both in the atmosphere and in the beer itself.”
It’s no secret that the Gateway has been slowly developing itself, building up attractions in an attempt to revitalize the space. Pottschmidt commented with zeal on the partnership.
“This has really been a five-year journey to this moment. The negotiation with Campus Partners was sometimes slow, and the former Gateway owners didn’t really want our idea in the space,” Pottschmidt said.
He went on to detail the finalities of the deal and even praised Campus Partners, the organization that just bought the bought two buildings on High Street, which currently house A Slice of New York, Student Book Exchange and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, for $5.5 million as part of its High Street transformation project.
Pottschmidt, an OSU alumnus, recounted the old space that the Gateway was and said he and Greene really wanted to bring that atmosphere back, especially with the craft beer movement becoming so prominent.
“We wanted to transform this alley into an active space. Not just a means of getting from point A to point B,” he said. “And with the connection between the Short North and campus becoming stronger everyday, the line between the Short North and the Gateway is almost seamless now.”