Well, tonight after dinner at Nap's Cucina Mia, my wife and I decided to hit the Ironwood for a drink. Upon arrival, we were told that the new bar was open for business.
The bar is located up the stairs and to the left of the host(ess) station. They have a whole new area which contains several booths and some tables, a pool table, and a new bar.
First, I was impressed that the tap selection included Magic Hat #9 and Victory Hop Devil (although the Hop Devil was kicked tonight). Second, I liked the fact that all of the beers available downstairs in 6 packs seemed to be in the cooler for drinking (didn't see the Stone bombers or the Baltika beers, though).
Unfortunately, the new bar allows smoking, so be prepared for that. However, you can get all the beers in the non-smoking restaurant section (no beer list yet, however). My wife asked for a virgin strawberry daiquiri and I asked for a Victory Hop Wallop (bottle). "That'll be $8.", says the girl behind the bar.
$8!!! I think someone goofed. I asked another waitress later - the Hop Wallop bottle (12 oz) was indeed $4, but the other girl made a mistake on the virgin daiquiri, as $4 is the price of the alcoholic version. I raised that point with the owner as I left, and he assured me that was a goof and that he'd comp me the next time I came in (now, whether he'll remember me ....).
The other point - $4 for a bottle of Hop Wallop, when downstairs the price of a Victory sixer is between $9 and $12. Hmmm, let's see ... that's about a 100% markup. Sorry, but that's a rip off for Indiana, PA. I've paid prices like that in Pittsburgh, but it's a little more expensive in general. Yeah, I understand overhead, etc. - but $4.00 to drink on premises where it'd be $2 a bottle (MAX!) to take out. C'mon. If the Coney expands their list, they'll give Ironwood a run for the money (Hop Devil is less per bottle, for example).
So - first impressions were disappointing. Smoky, overpriced, and bar help that is either swindling me or just inept. I appreciate the selection - I really do. But jacking up the price is not going to get my business too often unless I want to sample something before plucking down cash for a six pack.
According to the owner, the beer tastings will start (most likely) in April - first Tuesdays of the month (nicely coinciding with the beer club for a meeting in April/May) with some distributor reps. Alcohol (hard liquor) reps will follow later in month, too. The upstairs (outer) bar is now under refurbishment, and apparently is expanding and will be a double-sided bar.
I look forward to hearing other's impressions of the Ironwood's new bar and their selection. Time will tell whether or not it's going to be a worthy craft beer hangout. I'll be giving it a few more chances to impress me, but if each visit turns out like tonight then they're losing a customer.