In the former site of The Brass Tap, Hop Scotch Craft Beer & Whiskey opened in January. The bar, in Clifton Heights’s U Square development, has the same ownership minus the Brass Tap franchise. The new iteration of the UC campus–side watering hole offers a selection of more than 100 bottles of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch and a slightly pared-down tap list.
Of the new direction for his business, owner Mic Foster—who opened the franchise location in 2013—says he appreciated Brass Tap’s customer base but decided to part ways with the Tampa, Florida-based franchise when their agreement ended. Foster says he had noticed whiskey and bourbon becoming increasingly popular among his Brass Tap patrons, but they had only stocked a small selection of the liquors.
He intends for Hop Scotch to cater to a more sophisticated crowd—think graduate students, professors, hospital workers, or visiting parents. “There are a lot of party bars in Clifton,” he says. “We just wanted to create something that was different.”
Retooling a more spirits-focused vibe for Hop Scotch, he reduced the draft beer selection from 80 to 60 and added more cocktails to the drink menu, along with white and red wines. The reception from customers has been great so far, he says, noting, “People tend to underestimate the student population and what their likes and dislikes are.”
With the new theme comes new food, including a roster of sides and to-be-expected shareables (like pretzels and beer cheese), plus the main attraction: an entire section devoted to “gourmet” grilled cheese sandwiches. Look for the obligatory All-American Grilled Cheese (like mom used to make, with American cheese), plus outside-the-box remixes like the sweet-and-savory Jive Turkey (with roasted turkey, shaved granny smith apples, sliced Brie, and Dijon) and the Southern-style Augusta Deluxe (with pimento cheese, cheddar jack, roasted red peppers, and chopped bacon).
Hop Scotch Craft Beer & Whiskey, 251 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, (513) 242-2337, hopscotchohio.com