The Casual Pint Hamilton held grand opening late last week, and to co-owner Ann Marie Cilley, the reason for its downtown Hamilton location is obvious.
“Why not?” she said in the weeks before the location opened. “Look at what’s going on around us.”
She noted other new businesses nearby, including neighbors Tano Bistro, Municipal Brew Works and North Second Tap and Bottle Shop, as well as the award-winning Marcum Park, with its RiversEdge amphitheater.
The business is located in The Marcum, a mixed-use complex that recently welcomed Revive Salon and the second location of award-winning Tano Bistro, whose original location is in Loveland.
“The Casual Pint a unique blend of three things,” said Cilley, who owns it with her husband, Dan Hancock. “(It’s) a premium-yet-relaxed and welcoming environment to gather with friends and family for great beer and food, a wide variety of draft and packaged craft beer — plus cider and wine — to enjoy on site or to take home, and a very knowledgeable and friendly staff that creates a very fun beer discovery experience.”
The new 2,500-square-foot business seats 100 people inside and outside and was set to have 10 to 12 “beertenders” and cooks on staff.
It has 36 taps, including one for the gas that will be used to can beers one-by-one, in “crowlers” on-site, for people wanting to take home brews that will last longer than those that can be kept in gas-bottle “growlers.”
Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.
Aside from the three-dozen taps, Hancock said there will be 200 cases of beer available for sale.
Cilley said she enjoys Hamilton’s history and architecture, “and honestly, we wanted to be part of what’s happening in Hamilton now. I don’t even want to call it a revitalization anymore, because I feel like we’re already there.”
The neighbors and activity around the Marcum are exciting, she said.
“To see what was happening down here on Saturday, we were absolutely crawling with people,” she said. “We had the (Hamilton) Flea, we had Ales for Tails (an Animal Friends Humane Society fundraiser at Municipal Brew Works) and there was a 5K (running race) in the morning.”
“We had people coming in every 2-3 minutes, to see the taps, see the bar, the cooler, the menu,” she said. “The energy, that’s what we were drawn to.”
The area seems to be building a critical mass for entertainment, almost like the MainStrasse area of Covington, Ky., particularly when a new tenant is announced for the former Quarter Barrel micro-brewery location just across the river at 103 Main St. That will feature rooftop dining.
Casual Pint will have at least one tap for a beer created by neighbor Municipal Brew Works.
Brew Works’ co-owner Sean Willingham called it “nice” that one of their products will be featured. “Honestly, we welcome the neighbors,” he said. “I think it’s going to bring a lot of business into the area and we welcome them with open arms.”
It also will build “a nice sense of community,” he said. “Casual Pint opening up sets a community destination for individuals coming up from Cincinnati, down from Dayton, and the whole area here.”
“I think it’s going to benefit them, it’s going to benefit us, when people come here and see what Hamilton is actually all about,” he said. “Hamilton has changed a lot in the past 3 1/2, 4 years, and we have probably been a huge component of that change, especially with the city administration wanting to have more people down here in this core area of Hamilton that’s really vibrant now, with the park and concert series, with us and Casual Pint, and Tano’s.”
Dan Connaughton, owner of North Second Tap and Bottle Shop, agreed with that assessment: “I think it’s a welcome to the city. The more options, the better. People appreciate options.”
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