The Belle of Dayton distillery is gearing up to open a craft cocktail room called the Van Buren Room as early as August 2018.

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Dayton’s newest craft cocktail bar has hired and is training its staff and is gearing up to open perhaps as soon the first week of October, its founders say.

The Belle of Dayton Distillery shut down its tasting room and gift shop back in May so it could be transformed into a craft cocktail room, which will be called the Van Buren Room, co-founders and brothers Murphy and Mike LaSelle told this news outlet. The distillery is located at 122 Van Buren St. in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District.

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Murphy LaSelle offered this update Thursday night on the distillery’s project:

“Everything is coming along great. We’ve almost completed the hiring process (we have about 6 people as of now). This place is going to be amazing not only because of its ambiance and quality, but also because of the staff we have in place. The Van Buren Room is poised to be one the best places to get a cocktail anywhere . We are set to open the first week of October.” 

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“We are using two former Dayton natives as consultants: Kathleen Roll and Justin Simmons who currently live in Chicago and have worked and set up bars in Chicago, Cincinnati and Dayton, including Sidebar, Coco’s Bistro and Salar.”

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Murphy said in May that plans for the Van Buren Room call for “an intimate space, including windows looking into the federally bonded distillery, with an early 1900s look and feel.” It will seat about 47 and will feature classic cocktails with Belle of Dayton spirits along with rare and experimental releases, the LaSelle brothers said.

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Locally produced craft beer in cans and bottles, other Ohio distilled spirits, and an extensive selection of gin, bourbon, Scotch, and rye Whiskies also will be available. Food will be served, “but cocktails are the primary focus,” Murphy LaSelle told this news outlet. 

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Until 2016, the project would have been prohibited under state law. But House Bill 351 — co-sponsored by State Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and approved in 2016 — allowed distilleries to obtain a permit allowing them to serve their distilled liquor, and other alcoholic beverages, by the glass for consumption on the distillery’s premises. The new law put Ohio’s craft distilleries on level ground with Ohio’s brewpubs and wineries, which already had that option. The legislation also allowed distilleries to serve food.

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“By obtaining this permit, Ohio distillers will be able to operate more like a bar, attracting consumers who are interested in enjoying the microdistillery’s product on site,” Ohio House Republicans wrote on their “Majority Caucus Blog” in April 2016.

Plans call for being open five days a week with regular bar hours, LaSelle said. 

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Since opening in 2014, the Belle of Dayton Distillery has won multiple awards and recognition for its pot-distilled, small-batch spirits, including a coveted Double Gold medal for its Dayton Gin at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.