Wednesday, May 9, 2012

First look: World of Beer

World of Beer Tempe AZI got my first look at the under-construction World of Beer, which is opening in downtown Tempe this summer in the 100-year-old Tempe National Bank building on the northwest corner of Mill Avenue and Sixth Street, across the latter from Canteen Modern Tequila Bar and Robbie Fox’s Public House.

The craft beer bar – which will offer more than 500 different beers – is part of a national chain mostly on the East Coast. It currently has no locations west of Arlington, Texas.

General manager J.P. Watts says the Tempe WOB will have 50 craft beers on tap, but no Bud or Miller. About 10 of the beers will be “mainstays. The other 40 will feature a revolving selection within various categories. (For instance, when a keg of hefeweizen blows, it’ll be replaced by a different hefe.)

In addition, a walk-in cooler behind the bar will have eight glass doors displaying more than 500 different beers in bottles and cans. The beers will come from 40 countries, including 65-70 U.S craft breweries in 20 states.

(You can download a working version of the beer list here, but Watts intends to add up to 50 more beers by WOB’s target opening on July 2. Prices, he says, will start around $4.)

World of Beer Tempe AZ

The interior (pictured above) will feature the long bar and walk-in cooler along the north wall (to the right). Above the cooler will be a mezzanine where bands will perform. The bank’s old vault is being turned into a semi-private room for 10-15 people.

World of Beer Tempe AZThe windows along the south wall of building (pictured above) will get roll-up, garage-style windows. Counter-like tables will extend from each window into the 3,300-square-foot interior.

World of Beer Tempe AZThe building’s original red brick (pictured above) is being restored. (The chain’s standard decor for each bar is dark wood and brick.) The high ceilings will help accomodate 25 50-inch hi-def TVs.

World of Beer Tempe AZThe building’s original open-air entryway (through the archway pictured above) was enclosed years ago, but will be reopened and used for a street patio, which will wrap around to the south side (where newspaper boxes now sit).

WOB will offer a few wines to customers who don’t like beer, but no cocktails or mixed drinks. The bar’s retail license will allow it to sell beer in anything from single bottles to mix-and-match six-packs to-go.

WOB will have no kitchen, but Watts plans to work out an arrangement with four or five nearby restaurants to deliver food to hungry WOB patrons.

The 30 or so people that Watts will begin hiring June 1 will be very knowledgable about beer, he promises. Everyone from bartenders to dishwashers will have to attend a 10-day “beer school” and score at least 90% on the final exam before they even can begin training.

According to Watts, the franchise owner plans to open at least three WOBs in the Valley, as well as another in Las Vegas.

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