Tableside with Tom Stephen


As the beer and wine buyer for the Molly Wellmann empire, Tom Stephen has a big say in what’s poured in OTR. Since opening his own spot, Liberty’s Bar and Bottle, last September, he has parlayed his insider knowledge to stock a Main Street bar-cum-retail shop that wine and beer connoisseurs have eagerly embraced.

What’s the history behind your storefront? It’s been a number of bars throughout the years, with a beautiful 100-year-old back bar with a copper top. It didn’t need a ton of work—we just wanted to add our own personality and make it a destination.

A destination for whom? We’ve been termed an “adult’s bar”—a place where professionals can come and relax, not wait in a long line.

What do you have on tap? We have 20 beers on draft, and I focus on real crafty brews from Europe. We have beers that are not anywhere else in Ohio due to my commitment to working with a small group of people.

So it’s a bar for beer and wine aficionados? We have some more expensive beers, but they’re not just for beer geeks. That’s why we offer a five-ounce pour. Even if it’s $11 for a full glass, you can still get a taste.

Do you sell pricey wines as well? We try to have wines from great producers, regardless of price point. When a guy makes $300 bottles of wine, and I’m able to get his wine that retails for $20, you can rest assured that there’s a level of quality he believes in.

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