New restaurant and games business keeping fun going at Oxford location

Employees from Signery2 install the new Church Street Social sign over the door for the business which has changed its name but keeps many of the fun events which made the former Books & Brews popular. A new menu by a new chef is the biggest change at the 107 E. Church St. location. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN
Employees from Signery2 install the new Church Street Social sign over the door for the business which has changed its name but keeps many of the fun events which made the former Books & Brews popular. A new menu by a new chef is the biggest change at the 107 E. Church St. location. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

A new business to eat, drink and play games became official in Oxford earlier this month with a new sign over the door of the former Books & Brews franchise.

Church Street Social owner and manager Ann Kamphaus said she bought out of the franchise in January and paperwork completing the name change was just recently official.

“I listened to customers and what they wanted,” she said. “We will still have our specialty nights. We still have the games. We changed to get more merchandising to support some local, smaller businesses.”

The arrival of new chef Luay Schwati is changing up the menu offerings to go along with the effort to create a bit more of a restaurant atmosphere as well as supplementing the specialty night themes.

As an example, Kamphaus pointed to a recent Bourbon Night in which participants received three tastings of bourbons and a salmon meal.

“It was popular. We will do it again,” she said, adding such events are Monday nights when they are usually closed and reservations are taken for only a limited number of people.

They are still offering the Tuesday Trivia Nights. There will be Wednesday Wine Nights, with discount prices, and Thursday “Slingo” which she described as, “Bingo with songs.” Fridays feature Karaoke and will be Italian Night with wine and Italian dishes.

The business still offers a large selection board games for people to play which has always been a popular draw and there is book shelf, although scaled back from the Books & Brews days.

“We still have the games. People said college students would not come in and play games but they do,” Kamphaus said. “We still have books, children’s books and non-fiction.”

She is continuing the book club on the first Friday of the month. The patio in front is still available but has been redone with raised beams to hold up the lights and added seating.

There are also offerings from Donna Finch, Queen City Alchemy and there are some sweatshirts and hats for Church Street Social created by Lebowski. Coffee served to customers comes from two local providers Script, in Mason, and the Oxford Coffee Company. Also available are “Hot Chocolate Bombs” from Stephanie Reisenberg Ruehl.

“I push the local aspect,” she said, adding they also serve various beers from area vendors.

There are some other gimmicks she said have proven popular with customers. Those undecided about what drink to have can give a spin of the $4 drink wheel, which will make the decision for them. Another popular offering is “Drink the Rainbow” a 51-ounce tropical drink they refer to as “Holy water” in reference to their location on Church Street. There are six different colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple – and customers will receive a bead matching the color of their drink and can collect the whole set.

Kamphaus has also instituted a membership club at $100 a year. Participants receive a hat and tote bag, invitations to all events, patio seating by reservation, discounts and premium drinks.

“We have a mix of college students and local people,” she said.