Three years after Dressel’s Public House went on pandemic hiatus, the pints are flowing again at the iconic Central West End pub. Within a few months, some of those pints will feature beer brewed at Dressel’s.
Owner Ben Dressel, the son of Dressel’s founder Jon Dressel, unveiled the renovated pub at a soft opening late last month. Pre-pandemic regulars will find transformations — most dramatically, the new brewhouse, installed in the basement and visible through a large hole in the dining room floor — and familiar touches.
“All the old-schoolers are kind of very happy with it,” Dressel said. “Like, ‘Wow. It’s like the old Dressel’s except it’s more open and fresh.’”
Dressel announced the pub’s temporary closure for renovations in June 2020. He had planned to reopen that fall, but he soon realized if Dressel’s did return then, it would go out of business. The pub wasn’t designed to be a pandemic-era “blockbuster takeout place.”
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Meanwhile, for about a decade Dressel had been thinking about making beer, inspired by a small brewpub he had visited in Ridgway, Colorado. He knew Dressel’s temporary closure would be the only chance to transform it into a brewpub. He took a brewer-training course in Colorado.
While Dressel’s will not begin making beer for two or three months, Dressel said, “when we get to that point, I think we’re going to make some good beer. It’s going to be very much kind of like beer that suits Dressel’s in terms of ales and lagers.”
As for the food menu, Dressel’s will feature the core dishes that were most popular before the pandemic: the pretzel, chips and rarebit, fish and chips, fish tacos, the burger, the Porchetta Louie sandwich immortalized by its appearance in Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
The bar area features a rebuilt bar, with the bar top and drink rail made from the joists of the dining-room floor removed during the renovations. Pieces of the bar’s pre-pandemic artwork have returned to the walls.
The new Dressel’s might not be as “quaint” as it was before the pandemic, Dressel said, but behind the scenes, “it had reached the end of its life. It really had gotten to the point where if the bar didn’t fall down on top of somebody, it should’ve.”
Dressel’s is located at 419 North Euclid Avenue. Dressel said regular hours will likely be 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.