The ink has dried on a deal that will allow one of Dayton’s most beloved bars to move into a bigger space.
Joe Head said he and business partner Diane Spitzig have signed a lease to move the Century Bar next door to the former Dayton Power and Light Building at 18 to 20 S. Jefferson St.
“We’ve all said ‘yes’ to the deal,” Head said. “We are going to double the Century Bar’s capacity.”
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Head and Spitzig are leasing the space from Fire Blocks District developer Windsor Companies.
“The goal is to buy the building eventually,” Head said.
Head first told this news organization in December of the plan to move the Century Bar, the city’s oldest bar under the same name. But things were not finalized at the time.
He estimated the three-story Dayton Power and Light building is at least 9,000 square feet.
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The first floor of the building will be the Century Bar’s new home and house its historic bar.
Head said the yet-to-be named second floor of the bar’s new building would hold a separate cocktail and wine lounge.
Previous plans for a speakeasy-style club have been scrapped.
The third floor will be managed by the Century Bar as part of a partnership with Windsor.
Eric VanZwieten of Windsor said Century’s expansion is part of the larger development of the district that will include housing, restaurants and other businesses.
Century has built a reputation as one of the most popular bourbon bars in the nation, he said.
“Century draws people from all the Dayton region and the world,” he said. “It is more about creating a larger space so everybody can fit.”
The Century dates back to 1942 under that name and in that location.
Maria and Eric Walusis, owners of Watermark restaurant in Miamisburg, are in negotiations to open a new restaurant in space at the corner of South Jefferson and East Third streets.
It would include The Century Bar’s current location, 10 S. Jefferson St.
With a popularity fueled by local and national acclaim, the Century Bar is often packed.
Head said it has long been apparent to them that the business needs to grow.
“We’ve always needed to do more,” he said. “I wasn’t sure we would be able to do more in downtown.”
In August, Century was named one of America’s 100 Best Bourbon bars by The Bourbon Review for a sixth consecutive year.
Head anticipates the Century will be open in its new location in August.
The lease represents Century’s commitment to the city, he said.
“We are here. We are investing,” he said. “All of our efforts will be in downtown Dayton.”
Leading up to the move, Head said bourbon tastings and special events will be held to celebrate the current location.