When Scott Eden was scouting locations for his new bar, he saw downtown York as an untapped market.
The corporate tax attorney turned pub owner said he knew his Holy Hound Taproom, which is set to open at noon Monday, wouldn't harmonize with a strip mall or in any old shopping plaza.
With 30 craft beers on tap and cheap, local food at the ready, Eden found a home for his bar inside the historic National House at the corner of Market and Beaver streets.
Built in 1828 as a hotel, the National House once hosted Charles Dickens and President Martin Van Buren, according to local history.
Eden has transformed a 2,140-square-foot space on the first floor of that old hotel into a modern bar in the heart of the city.
"A bar like this should be downtown," he said.
The walls and ceiling are painted shades of pumpkin, and carpet has been replaced with hardwood floors. New stools are lined next to a long, wooden bar, positioned near a small stage where the owner hopes to host open-mic nights. Church pews, posted on Craigslist by a Hanover place of worship, now frame the back walls of the bar. And outdoor seating will stretch along Beaver Street against the length of the building.
But don't expect table service.
"I want to keep it simple," he said.
Eden has been a customer, sitting outside at a table and waiting for a waitress to come around.
"That's not what I want for this place," he said.
Instead, the Holy Hound will resemble pubs in England and Ireland, where customers take ownership of their refills.
Behind the bar will be either Eden or full-time employee Bobbi Millheim, who for 7 years worked at the former KClinger's, a popular Hanover tavern that closed in April.
"Anyone who works here has to know the beer, and she knows the beer," he said.
In addition to full-timers Eden and Millheim, the Holy Hound is creating about eight part-time jobs, including cooks. The food will be purchased locally and fashioned into a short, affordable menu, Eden said.
Among the offerings will be chilis, soups, barbecue, brisket, chicken sausage, andouille, brats, soft pretzels and pizzas purchased from Jim & Nena's around the corner.
The food will largely be purchased at Central Market, he said.
"I want to put money back into the community," he said. "If I'm going to spend $500 a week on food, I'd rather give it to the market."
Menu items will range from $2 to $5, Eden said.
"I want to keep food prices down and give people a place to grab a cheap bite at night, other than (fast food)," he said.
Beginning Monday, Holy Hound will be open from noon till 2 a.m. daily and will offer $1 off happy hour specials from 4 to 6 p.m.
"I want this to be a destination point," he said.
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