Come this fall, Pratt Street Ale House will have a sister location in Columbia.
That's the plan anyway. The owners of the Inner Harbor brewpub, home of Oliver Breweries, signed a lease two weeks ago for the former Rocky Run Tap in Columbia.
Justin Dvorkin, co-owner, said the restaurant, which hasn't been operational in a couple of years, will be stripped bare and built up from scratch. They've set an opening date for September to coincide with football season.
Like at Pratt Street, draft beers will be the trademark of the new venue, tentatively called Columbia Ale House - though a branding effort may just shorten it to The Ale House. News of the new bar/restaurant was first reported in Beer in Baltimore.
Dvorkin said he's in been interested in expanding to Columbia because the market is growing quickly.
"Theres some decent [dining/nightlife] options, but it's not saturated," Dvorkin said. "There's a lot of corporate places, and the indie restaurants are doing very well. There's a lot of people in Columbia looking for new places to go to."
Dvorkin had expressed interest in Rocky Run Tap when it closed in 2008, but he was told the restaurant already had a committed buyer. Apparently, the deal fell through and he approached the landlord, Dobbin Square LLC, the operators of Dobbin Shopping Center, again. They signed a lease two weeks ago.
He plans on "gutting the place to bare bones and starting from scratch," he said. The demolition process has just started. "It's a significant build-up."
In Columbia, Dvorkin has about 9,000 square feet to play with. So far the plan is to have one main bar, and two smaller bars, including one supporting a patio.
The bar will carry 50 beers on draft, with Oliver Breweries as the house brand. He has no plans to brew at the new bar, or to contract-brew anywhere else.
Dvorkin had considered contract-brewing out of the new Peabody Heights Brewery, or opening a new Oliver-branded brewery. But the plan is now to brew all of their own beer out of Pratt Street.
To accomodate the extra demand, the brewpub will be renovated and expanded to add production capacity.
Though there are still plans to open their own brewery in the future, it won't be until after Columbia is up and running.
"We don't want to shortchange one project to focus on another," he said.