Bar specializing in craft beers is next for downtown scene

Work has been quietly progressing on a new addition to downtown Youngstown’s entertainment district.

An as-yet unnamed bar — specializing in craft beer, whiskeys and scotches — is slated to open by the end of the year on the second floor of a building at 124 W. Federal St. Jeff Kurz and Brad Schwartz are the owners.

The building currently houses Imbibe Martini Bar on its first floor. Imbibe, which will remain open and unchanged, is also part of Kurz’s and Schwartz’s downtown holdings.

The craft-beer bar will be a completely separate business from Imbibe, with a very different look and feel. The bathrooms are already done, and two bar areas are being roughed in this week. Work began Wednesday to create separate doors and entranceways for Imbibe and the new upstairs site.

Kurz said the renovation work to gut and rebuild the bi-level second-floor bar will exceed $200,000.

Both Imbibe and the upstairs bar will be getting new signage in the near future.

The idea for the craft-beer bar first arose in 2008 among Kurz, Schwartz and a third business partner, the late David Abra-hamson, who died in 2011. But a troublesome series of setbacks kept it from gaining traction until this year, prompting Kurz to refer to it as “the project from hell.”

Why a craft beer and whiskey theme? “We listen to our customers,” said Kurz. “We ask what they’d enjoy. After years of discussing it, we know that there is a demand for this downtown.”

Kurz and Schwartz, incidentally, also own the building next door, which houses O’Donold’s Irish Pub. The two also gave that building a complete renovation in the past year.

With three high-profile projects now under their belts (or in the works), Kurz said the goal is to keep reinvesting in downtown Youngstown. “We want to give back to this community,” he said. “A city, and even the people from it, are judged by the downtown.”


Dead Ink Apparel will celebrate its second anniversary with a party Saturday night at Cedars West End, 702 Steel St., Youngstown. Expect live music, swag everywhere, and what they are calling a “Dead Carpet” photo op. Photos will be taken by Melanie Rae of Bow Tie Studios and added to Dead Ink’s Facebook page.

Each $5 admission comes with a free ticket to the Dead Carpet (but if you want more than one photo taken, remember to tip the photographer).

The first 150 people who show up will get a free Dead Ink logo T-shirt.

Dead Ink Apparel was founded by Niles native Justin Haines. His T- shirt designs, which have been featured in indie horror films, are in demand.

Performing that night will be Evil Empire, a Rage Against the Machine tribute act; hip-hop artist Stevie Thunda; and DJ Trap Static.


Rust Belt Theater Company has postponed until spring its performances of “When I Knew and How It Saved Me.”

The show was originally slated for Friday and Saturday at Calvin Center, but flu-like symptoms among too many cast members forced the change of plans.

Next up for Rust Belt will be “Living Dead: The Musical,” an original and hilarious zombie musical written by Robert Dennick Joki and Josh Taylor that premiered last year. The song titles — “The Slutty Girl Is the One Who Gets Eaten First” is one example — describe it better than I can.

“Living Dead” opens Oct. 18 and runs three consecutive weekends. Call or text 330-507-2358 for reservations.


Cleveland rock legend Michael Stanley is supporting Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership in its effort to win $10,000 in the 50 States for Good challenge.

“I’ve been playing gigs in Warren for more than 40 years and have always loved the city,” said Stanley in a press release. “It reminds me a lot of my hometown Cleveland. Both cities have their share of problems, but each is also made up of tough people who will never give up.”

TNP is working to create a Garden District in Warren’s oldest residential neighborhood located at the edge of downtown. Tom’s of Maine, a national consumer products marketer, selected TNP as the only non-profit from the state of Ohio to be a part of its 50 States for Good challenge.

Voting is done online until the Oct. 15 deadline. Vote daily at the Toms of Maine Facebook page. The top 15 vote-getters will each receive $10,000. TNP was in second place as of last week.

By the way, Michael Stanley and the Resonators will perform Saturday at Packard Music Hall in Warren.


“Tiny Cameras, Tiny Pictures” will open Saturday in Bliss Gallery at Youngstown State University and run through Oct. 25.

The gallery is on the second floor of Bliss Hall, which is on Wick Avenue.

This exhibit is a nationally juried photo competition featuring photos by 14 artists taken with a cellphone camera.

YSU art professor Claudia Berlinski will include cellphone photographs taken by her students.


Chris Verene, a photographer, performance artist and educator widely known for his decades-long documentary project chronicling the lives of his family and friends, will lecture at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Butler Institute of American Art’s Zona Auditorium. It’s free and open to the public.

Verene’s work is in several museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

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