It’s been four months since the team behind Press Wine Bar made the decision to shutter and retool the four-year-old Tremont restaurant. At that time, owner John Owen told Scene that the finer-dining concept no longer made sense for the space or neighborhood.
“The wine bar concept obviously didn’t work,” Owen told me. “We’re trying to be more of a neighborhood tavern, a place where people can watch a sporting event or just grab a shot and a beer.”
Over the past four months management has completely transformed pretty much everything about the space, including the name, concept, design and menu. The new (old) name is Hi and Dry Bowling and Beer
(2221 Professor Ave., 216-566-9463), and when it opens next week, the place will join the large and growing “eatertainment” segment, which includes places built around old-school pastimes like bowling, bocce, shuffleboard, pinball and classic arcade games.
Well, say hello to duckpin bowling. Popular along the East Coast, duckpin features 10 short, squat pins and softball-sized balls with no finger holes. Bowlers get three balls per frame instead of the usual two. String-based pinsetters will right the fallen pins. There are four such lanes in the reconfigured back space that now sports a retro-industrial vibe. Pinball machines and other old-school games flush out the space.
“We’re looking for things that are interactive,” Owen adds. “Not just staring at a video game.”
Chef Josh Smith will preside over an approachable menu of snacks, starters and high-quality sandwiches. There will be no entrees, but there will be plenty of craft draft beer and whiskey.
Sherman DeLozier, Southside (which was the location of the beloved Hi and Dry) owner and partner to Owen, says the name is intended as a tribute.
“I had my first date with my wife at the Hi and Dry, so it’s always had a special place in my heart,” he says.
Long before there was Fat Cats or Lola or Fahrenheit or Dante there was the Hi and Dry, an affordable neighborhood tavern that went through a few changes of ownership. DeLozier, who admits that fine-dining was never really his thing, says that he appreciates the time and place when everything wasn’t so high-brow in Tremont.
“I’d love to bring some of those elements back,” he says.
Look for the new-old Hi and Dry to open next week with “bar hours,” 4 to close seven days a week. Lunch might be added down the road.