A Better Brewhouse

 

Written by Heide Brandes in the November 2015 Issue

It’s a crisp autumn evening. Patio tables line the backyard, vintage string lights hang above. A folk singer plays a cheerful ditty while laughter and chatter fill the air. A group of friends cheers their glasses full of craft brews. Best part? It’s all happening right here in Edmond.

Welcome to the Patriarch. It’s the newest gathering spot for locals north of the metro.

The PatriarchBryce Thompson and Steve Russell, both of Edmond, shared not only careers in construction, but a love of homebrewing beer as well.

A chance meeting at their church led to a friendship, but little did the two know that in a few years, they would change the thriving urban corridor in Edmond by opening up the city’s first hyper-local, craft brew-centric pub and gathering house.

The Patriarch, a hot new pub on the northern end of downtown Edmond, doesn’t just offer local craft beer and long, sturdy tables perfect for conversation, but everything the city was looking for to expand the popularity of its downtown area.

“The city had hired a consultant on how to revitalize the urban district,” said Russell. “They were specifically looking for businesses that could thrive in the northern pocket of downtown Edmond. The Patriarch fit eight of the 10 things they were looking for.”

Thanks to the love of craft beer, the perfect economic atmosphere and the lure of a historic old house, The Patriarch is now Edmond’s beer-lover’s dream. Since May, the pub has seen overwhelming support from customers and surrounding businesses, fulfilling the Patriarch’s mission of “Community Through Beer.”

An Idea Brews

“Bryce and I are both avid homebrewers,” said Russell. “We found out we were both passionate about beer and became friends. One day, we made a passing comment about the lack of places in Edmond to get good craft beer.”

That one comment planted a seed. In March 2014, Russell happened to drive by the historic Hunt House, a 2,100 square foot home built in 1903 by the co-founder of the Citizens Bank of Edmond, William Hunt.

Bryce Thompson and Steve Russell, founders of the Patriarch“The property wasn’t even for sale,” said Russell. “But I got an idea of what it could be used for. Out of the blue, Bryce contacted me and we started talking more about Edmond’s lack of craft beer places, so I showed him the house. We decided then to just go for it.” They pestered the owner until they agreed to sell, closing in September 2014.

“After buying the house, we had to go to the city planning and zoning commission and the city council,” Russell said. “We showed the house to Mayor Lamb, and the city council was favorable for the zoning.”

Local businesses in the area were also supportive, said Steven Viljoen, general manager. Even a competing pub, Sweeney McGann’s, spoke at the council meeting in favor of the Patriarch. “He made the comment that a rising tide lifts all boats,” said Viljoen.

“All the businesses in downtown Edmond are pretty close-knit,” said Russell.

Community Through Beer

When the Patriarch opened its doors in May, the response was immediate. Visitors filled the old Hunt house and its courtyard backyard. Long wooden tables in the yard encouraged conversations with strangers, while the house gave the business its friendly, attractive home feel.

“From day one, our plan was to keep the house as original as possible,” Thompson said. “For instance, the bar top was in the house and we repurposed the walls that we tore down.”

“We wanted to promote this as a place in Edmond that you can have a conversation at and encourage dialogue among strangers,” Russell said. “At the same time, we wanted it to be homey and comfortable too.”

This is a place for friends. Picnic tables in the front and back yard add a community-style congregating point. A ping pong table and cornhole game set offer opportunities to have some friendly competition. The atmosphere lends itself to meaningful and fun conversation.

Beer menu at the PatriarchThe beer menu is colorful and bright, hand-drawn in chalk. The 48-plus beers on tap at The Patriarch show off the different styles of ales available. Of the beer, 75 percent of the choices are from Oklahoma breweries. Try the newest Coop seasonal or go with a traditional ale from Mustang brewery. Can’t decide on just one beer? Try one of their many flights, a 4oz sampling of four different beers. Feeling adventurous? Have the bartender pick favorites to sample. They update their beer list nightly, so each visit may offer unique flavors.

The Patriarch also offers pint nights regularly, with the chance to receive a free beer glass, specifically designed for the brews being poured.

Each night, the Patriarch also invites local food trucks to serve delicious offerings to the patrons.

“We really wanted to showcase how good Oklahoma beer is,” said Viljoen. “We wanted to support local breweries and show Oklahomans what they have to be proud of.”

The Patriarch, located at 9 E. Edwards St. in Edmond, is open  from 3pm to midnight Monday through Wednesday, from 3pm to 1am on Thursday and Friday and from noon to 1am on Saturday. Visit www.thepatriarchedmond.com for more information.

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