The beloved Athens-based establishment, Jackie O’s Brewpub & Public House, recently opened its fourth location — the first outside of Athens — despite the continuing global pandemic.
The new site takes the place of Elevator Brewing Company at 171 N. Fourth Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The Columbus dream was fulfilled after nearly six years of planning and was a move to Jackie O’s largest market for sales.
Jackie O’s On Fourth is currently only offering carry-out and curbside pickup options for the safety of employees and patrons. The establishment is hoping to open indoor dining in the spring.
“We definitely get a lot of people showing up thinking that they can drink here, and they’re a little upset, but that’s OK, because we will bring them back when it is a safer climate,” Jackie O’s On Fourth’s general manager, John Clift, said.
Though current options are limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the beer company has big plans for the location. The North Fourth Street location is opening in phases, with the carry-out storefront opening Nov. 24. More phases of renovation may not be fully completed for another two years.
The current space was renovated for about a month prior to opening, Clift said, with the storefront featuring a mural by artist Adam Hernandez, who designs some of Jackie O’s can art.
Clift said sales have been good for the business so far, but opening during a pandemic certainly comes with its challenges. In order to come up with money for the rent, Jackie O’s started its online retail store.
Reducing in-store sales to curbside pickup has additionally discouraged some customers from coming to the new location. The North Fourth Street site only maintains four staff members as opposed to the normal 20-30.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, alcohol sales have gone slightly up. However, the bulk of sales are from groceries stores. Still, business has been sufficient enough for Jackie O’s On Fourth to survive until a safer climate arises for on-premise sales and a greater staff.
“I think it just couples with when the right space became available,” Clift said about the Jackie O’s On Fourth opening. “It definitely wasn't the right time, but we feel like it's an investment in a clear future.”
Jackie O’s full menu of beers is available at the new location, offering bottles, kegs and pre-filled crowlers, as well as Jackie O’s merchandise.
Sarah Born, a junior studying exercise physiology, said Jackie O’s is her parents’ favorite restaurant in Athens, and it has become tradition to go every time they visit her. As a nearby Columbus resident from Lewis Center, Born finds it exciting that the expansion brings a piece of the Athens community to Columbus.
“People don’t really know the character of Athens and how special it is to OU students, and to have a part of Athens in Columbus will be really cool,” Born said. “I think Jackie O’s is a really good place to represent Athens’ culture and everything there.”