The Barrel House at 417 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton was purchased by new owners who are familiar faces to Dayton-area beer enthusiasts.
Gus Stathes, former general manager and beer curator of Ollie’s Place in Washington Twp., and Sara Levin, social media manager and event planner for Cappy’s Wine & Spirits in Loveland, are buying The Barrel House from Jeff Heater, the three told this news outlet.
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The transaction closed on Nov. 20.
Stathes said he stepped down from his position at Ollie’s to oversee The Barrel House, while his partner Levin said she will continue in her position with Cappy’s, at least for now.
“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for quite a while,” Stathes said. “We’ve been looking for locations, we talked about it, and we decided to do it.”
Stathes said working for Mike Schwartz — the owner of Ollie’s and Belmont Party Supply who is regarded as a godfather of sorts of the craft beer movement in the Dayton area — has prepared him for the next step of owning his own shop.
“Mike has taught me everything he knows about the beer business,” Stathes said. “And he has offered his support for this decision, which is huge.”
Heater, who opened The Barrel House in January 2015, said he was looking to make a change, “and this was the perfect opportunity to do it.” He said he is confident the business he founded is in good hands.
Stathes and Levin said they aren’t planning any immediate changes. Over time, they say they’ll add craft cocktails to the menu — the business has a full liquor license already — and will look into adding a small patio in front of the shop.
“I definitely want to keep the feel of The Barrel House alive, because I love this place,” Stathes said.
The business combines elements of a craft beer bar — it offers 18 craft draft beers by the glass, howler or growler — and an upscale carryout, with craft beers available by the single can or bottle or in six-packs, and wines available by the bottle. A red and white wine also are available on tap. The bar’s interior has the look and feel of a coffee shop, with a large collection of books to browse and, perhaps most significantly, not a single television.
The Barrel House is part of an exploding craft beer scene in and around downtown Dayton, with breweries such as Toxic Brew, Warped Wing and Dayton Beer Company joined more recently by new businesses such as Lock 27 Brewing, Mudlick Tap House and Canal Street Arcade and Deli, all located within a few blocks of the shop that Stathes and Levin are purchasing.
“There is a great beer culture in downtown Dayton now,” Stathes said. “It’s my view that a rising tide raises all the ships.”