The founders of campus staple Formaggio are taking on the Short North, offering craft beer and cocktails at Julep.
The bar celebrated its grand opening Friday after holding a sneak-peek party on Sept. 23. Fadi Michael, who co-owns Julep with his brother Sam Michael, said he hopes regulars at their campus and Downtown bars will follow them to the Short North. The Michael brothers have been in the bar business for nine years and own three other bars around Columbus: Formaggio near Ohio State’s campus and Park Street Cantina and Granero Lounge Downtown.
“We’ve been in this business for about nine years, so we’ve built regulars for a long time, so I feel that at this stage we have a following in Columbus,” Fadi Michael said.
It took the Michael brothers three months to convert the former Thai Tiki space into Julep. Fadi Michael said he and his brother decided to bring their business to the Short North because they wanted to attract a potential new customer base while serving OSU students and recent graduates.
“In this area we are able to attract all age groups, like the young recent graduates can feel like this is a place that they can come catch a game,” he said. “Because of where it’s at in the Short North I can see a 50-year-old couple walking in here and ordering cocktails or craft beer.”
Fadi Michael said he and his brother are always looking for new innovations to bring to their establishments. One such innovation at Julep is a “pour-your-own-beer” wall.
“We’re going to have a person to help with the pour-your-own (beer wall), to show people what they need to do, how to pour it and explain about the different beers,” he said. “The handles are going to rotate periodically, there’s always something new about it.”
Customers receive a card once they are checked at the bar and open a tab. After scanning the card, they will be able to fill 32 ounces of beer before having to check back in with a bartender.
The wall is the first of its kind in the Columbus area, and Fadi Michael said he came up with the idea after seeing it in other places across the country.
“We are always looking to do something different from everybody else,” he said. “So we did a little bit of research, did some traveling. It’s a newer concept, so not a lot of places have it like this as a wall.”
The Michael brothers partnered with Pour My Beer, a Chicago company, to build the wall. The company has “beer walls” around the world.
Julep is one of many bars serving craft beer in the Short North, but Betsy Pandora, executive director of the Short North Alliance, said the bar brings a different kind of atmosphere to the neighborhood.
“They’ve done a lovely job of building out the space and bring a different day and nighttime experience,” she said.
Julep is located on 1014 N. High Street.