New beer bar, Canton Beer Exchange, coming this Fall
Exterior of 2522 Fait Ave., which housed Doc's Eastside Bistro and later Lager's Pub. Canton Beer Exchange will take over this Fall (Barbara Haddock-Taylor)
Consulting for the bar, which takes over at 2522 Fait Ave. from Lager's Pub, is a familiar face: Jason Zink.
Until now, Zink had mostly worked out of Federal Hill. He owns No Idea Tavern and until June, Don't Know Tavern, which he sold to pay off legal bills stemming from a labor lawsuit brought on by former employees.
He says he got involved to promote the drinks exchange concept, which he first saw at a bar in Spain. The idea is buying one beer makes another brand cheaper.
"I've been wanting to do it for years. It's a lot of fun," Zink says. "I can see this place being done over and over if the concept takes off."
The bar is planning on installing between 24 and 40 draftlines, with a focus on Mid-Atlantic beers, especially Maryland beers. Zink promises there will be Stillwater Ales and Oliver Breweries in addition to the more well-known Flying Dog and Heavy Seas. The bar will also carry cask-conditioned ales.
The Exchange, which Zink has already dubbed a hashtagable 'CBX,' will also have a dinner menu that he describes as "family-friendly."
All of that is still a long way off. Though the new bar got its liquor license last week, it will need a full face-lift and construction is still two months off.
When Lager's manager Nicholle O'Malley left, she left the bar empty. O'Malley closed the bar in May after a disagreement over rent with the building's longtime landlords, Anthony Butta and Enrico DiCocco, who have recruited Zink to consult for the new bar. Butta and DiCocco have been the landlords since 1999, DiCocco says.
Zink says the new bar's opening will be in late August at the earliest or January 2013 at the latest.