By GUY D’ASTOLFO
When Warehouse 50 opens next month in the site of the old Dooney’s Downtown Grill & Bar, it will become the first indoor-outdoor bar in the center city.
Owned by Canfield-based financier Ryan Reese, the bar’s defining characteristic will be garage-type doors along the front wall. The large doors will create a wide-open space that will blend into a fenced patio.
“When you walk by, you will be able to see what’s going on inside,” said Reese, adding, “It will be like a summer street festival.”
The garage doors will not only open the establishment to the outdoors, but also complement its industrial theme.
The interior of the space has been gutted and work is ongoing. But when complete, the room will have a concrete bar running the length of the room, nearly doubling it in size from the present bar. The floor also will be bare concrete.
As many as 16 LED televisions will be hung on the walls, and an elevated DJ area will be built. Booths and tables will fill the open areas by day but will be removed at night when the establishment will transition into a party atmosphere.
Reese said his goal is to embrace Youngstown, not attempt to rebrand it. Warehouse 50 — the number refers to its address on West Federal Street — will be a shot-and-beer place with moderate prices.
“People in Youngstown don’t like paying $7 for a shot,” he said.
Reese is an Austintown Fitch High School and University of Notre Dame graduate who has owned partial interests in bars in the Cleveland area.
He described Warehouse 50 as an old-type bar that will share the city’s unassuming personality.
“It’s the kind of bar that nobody else is doing downtown,” he said, explaining that he does not want to introduce a new concept that is borrowed from another city.
A June 6 opening is planned that will coincide with the first of the popular Party on the Plaza series. Dates and bands have yet to be confirmed, but the six parties will include national blues-rock artist Anthony Gomes with Dennis Drummond, The Hern Brothers Band, The Rage, The HouseBand, Fetish, and one more act, according to Scott Austalosh, who is handling entertainment at the bar.
Party on the Plaza will begin by 5 or 6 p.m. — immediately after downtown workers leave their office — with cornhole games and a DJ before the bands play.
Reese said his bar will fully “own” Party on the Plaza, a downtown mainstay that has been publicized in conjunction with Lyndsey Hughes, downtown director of events and marketing.
“I was surprised to hear people [mistakenly] say that Party on the Plaza is sponsored by all of the bars downtown,” he said. “It’s not.”
Local, regional and, occasionally, national bands also will be intermittently booked, said Austalosh, and “interactive” DJs — entertainers who engage the crowd — will be part of the schedule.
Gus Schuett will be the general manager. Schuett most recently worked at The Barley House in downtown Akron, and also owns a DJ company.
The kitchen at Warehouse 50 will be enclosed and will offer a limited menu of traditional bar foods: burgers, wings, salads, cheese sticks and the like.
A lighted sign, reminiscent of an old movie theater marquee, will be erected over the front door, said Reese.
Warehouse 50 will be the third bar in the site on the street level of the Stambaugh Building. A Buffalo Wild Wings was first, opening in 1994 and closing last summer. It started the Party on the Plaza series.
Dooney’s opened in the site in July 2012 and closed in April. It was owned by local attorneys Chris Sammarone, Bryan Ridder and J.P. Daliman, who sold their liquor license to Reese.
Downtown real-estate developer Dominic Marchionda is leading a group pursuing plans to open a hotel in the Stambaugh Building, which is vacant except for Warehouse 50.