Down And Over Pub
When the short-lived Bay View Brew Haus was abruptly sold to owners of Brady Street bar/venue The Up And Under Pub at the end of March, it wasn’t your typical transaction. Patrons were told of the exiting establishment’s final night of business via Facebook, with some 24 hours of advance notice. Then, as quickly as the Brew Haus arrived only two-plus years earlier, it was gone. New ownership, a different sign, a presumably updated staff, a wincingly clever name change, and literally no time later, The Up And Under’s southern sister site—the Down And Over Pub—was open for business.
Curious to see whether the change in ownership would breathe new life into the ailing-yet-entertainment-equipped establishment, or if it would be like when a Long John Silver’s becomes a cell phone store, The A.V. Club paid the new bar an early visit.
The space: Occupying the first floor of a former Masonic temple, The Down And Over has no shortage of space. That becomes evident upon a march up some stairs and across the building to reach the bar. The bar itself, situated adjacent to a pair of large flat-screens at the back wall, offers patrons about a dozen stools and a scant selection of elevated two-top tables. But those familiar with the previous tenant will be glad to know that the assortment of wooden tables—both square and German beer hall-style—remains.
In fact, the young ghost of the Brew Haus still looms throughout The Down And Over. The stage remains intact, and the pool tables haven’t moved an inch. Save for plaster-flecked interior walls and a makeshift noise-cancelling wall to block the stage from the back door, the site is in many ways the same as the underappreciated bar, venue, and banquet hall that preceded it.
The service: Having arrived before peak hours (at least we hoped, based on turnout), we carefully peered at the bar’s back wall and down the tap line before finally inquiring about the drink specials. The specials seemed less-than sorted, as we were told the barkeep “was pretty sure everything was half off.”
The A.V. Club’s drinks: Failing to spot a signature drink menu or any draft beer anomalies, we sprung for a pint of Lakefront Fixed Gear—well, four of them, to be more accurate. The $2.50 price was a treat, but when doubled (after happy hour), it’s as-or-more expensive than most other bars.
The verdict: New ownership and business name aside, The Down And Over Pub still bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor in terms of look, feel, and clientele. Those who enjoyed Bay View Brew Haus—likely a limited number due to the bar’s short life and quick sale—will find a familiar home here.