Hydraulic Bar at Spooky Nook opens: ‘It’s a very eclectic bar’

The bar’s name honors the hydraulic canal in Hamilton that helped make the Champion Mill a powerhouse in the paper industry.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Hydraulic Bar inside Spooky Nook Champion Conference Center in Hamilton opened Wednesday, creating a new social gathering place for visitors and residents.

But Spooky Nook Food and Beverage Director Sara Awsumb said it’s “more than just a hotel bar.”

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“It’s a very eclectic bar,” she said of the massive 58-foot-long bar. With the 122-seat dining area, the Hydraulic can accommodate between 250 to 275 people.

>> PHOTOS: Look inside the new Hydraulic Bar at Spooky Nook

Walking into the bar, patrons are met with blue lights illuminating from the base of the bar, which “brings it to life” and gives it a “very high-class vibe.”

“It’s a place to come together and socialize,” Awsumb said. “Parents after sporting events (across the street) can come and relax after a full day of games. It’s a great social gathering place to enjoy a night out with your friends or your family.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The name of the Hydraulic Bar is a nod to the city of Hamilton’s past. The hydraulic canal decades ago in Hamilton helped catapult the city into an industrial powerhouse, including making the former Champion Mill an industry leader.

The former paper mill is now developed into a different type of powerhouse in the form of Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, an event, sports, conference center and hotel complex bisecting North B Street. During its first summer open, thousands of people were at the complex most every weekend.

“I know there are people out here who have seen this (building) in its past glory, when it was dark, dank and dirty. So it’s great to see the sun shining and everybody enjoying this beautiful site,” said Mike Dollard, Spooky Nook Sports CFO, giving thanks to the city of Hamilton, the Hamilton Community Foundation and the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a fantastic day.”

Chamber President and CEO Dan Bates said the ribbon-cutting that officially opened the Hydraulic Bar is “another exciting movement forward” for the complex that features a conference center, event space and hotel on one side of North B Street and sports complex on the other side.

The bar features a menu by Executive Chef Mindy Livengood Shea and features, among other things, sandwiches, Italian subs, giant pretzels, nachos, salads, soups and chili, flatbread pizza, and wings, as well as a drink menu that features cocktails, bourbon, beers and wine.

Next to the bar is Municipal Brew Works’ second location, and Awsumb said they will complement each other.

“It gives us more space,” she said, adding they have MBW’s Cats Eye PA on tap. “If they’re full, people can come here, and if we’re full, people can go there.”

The Hydraulic Bar is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and is open from 3 p.m. to midnight on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

The next big project, Awsumb said, is the Forklift & Palate Restaurant, which should be under construction within 30 days. Construction, if things all things go according to schedule, within five to six months.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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