WILMINGTON — The city’s newest tavern is a casual place that also celebrates local history.
Ole Town Tavern at 26 N. South St. held its grand opening on Thursday after a successful soft opening earlier in the week.
Owner Tony Butcher told the News Journal there was a big turnout.
“We all heard a lot of very positive feedback about the cocktails, and the look and vibe of the bar,” said Butcher.
He always thought that someday he’d like to open the kind of bar he saw when he visited New York City.
“I worked for Technicolor and I would travel to New York a lot. When I was there, I’d walk around and there’d be these little bars that I would just go into,” he said. “These are cool little bars, and I thought if I ever opened one I’d like to open one like that.”
The building was purchased a few years ago with the thought that it could possibly become the bar he envisioned. In-between those years, he rented the facility to businesses, including a jewelry store.
But Butcher, from a family of longtime local residents, began the groundwork for Ole Town Tavern.
“My idea was to have it look like an old bar. So, hopefully, if you walked in — if you’re not from here — you don’t know if this has been here a couple of weeks or 50 years,” he said.
He didn’t want the bar to just be reminiscent of New York; he wanted there to be a strong connection to local history.
To help create the timeless, local feeling of the place, he contacted Shelby Boatman of the Clinton County Historical Center.
“We went through boxes and boxes of pictures. I was looking for ones that were of local businesses in town and people,” Butcher said.
After he chose the ones he wanted to put up on the wall, he included the others he picked out as part of the table decorations.
One of the next steps for them is to get their Sunday liquor license. To do this, they have to get on the August ballot. Butcher saidd they need roughly 50 more signatures by Wednesday (May 4); all signatures must come from registered voters in district B2.
Anyone who wants to assist and sign the petition can stop by the Tavern.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574