Back to the future

Renaissance conjures Roaring ’20s

Downtown Tiffin’s bourbon bar, which opened Friday, aims to take customers back to the Roarin’ 20s.

Dave Spridgeon, owner of The Renaissance of Tiffin, said when people come to the bar, they will be taken back to a time when America was “fat and sassy.”

“I want them to feel like they stepped back in time,” he said. “All this hubbub, cellphones, politics …. you come to The Renaissance and you can forget about all that.”

The bar offers 336 liquors, 12 draft beers, several bottled beers, wine, cocktails and cigars. It is open 4-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Staff members are to be dressed in 1920s attire, but there is no dress code for customers.

The building, 129 S. Washington St., was bought earlier this year by Suzie Reineke and Weston Reinbolt, who convinced Spridgeon to run the business.

Spridgeon was a partner in The Bourbon Affair, a bar in Findlay.

“I was in Findlay one night, I was about to make my exit from the company,” he said. “I was approached by Suzie and Weston. They told me they bought a building in Tiffin that had a liquor license.”

Reineke and Reinbolt wanted to bring the same vibe from the bar in Findlay to Tiffin.

Spridgeon’s wife, Angie, played a key role in naming the business and with convincing Dave to move forward with the endeavor.

“She told me, ‘You’re a fool if you don’t do this,'” he said.

Spridgeon said he discussed a partnership with Reineke and Reinbolt for more than three hours and he began to create a vision.

“They invested money to bring the building up to code. I invested money to make it look how it does now,” he said. “They are the anchor. Their passion for Tiffin and their passion to bring something of this character to Tiffin was key.”

Spridgeon also thanked his general manager, Ashley Caudill, for help with renovations and bringing his vision to life.

“Her blood, sweat and tears are invested in this building,” he said.

The building, which was formerly DP’s, underwent several months of renovations. 

One cocktail on the menu is called DP’s legacy, named after the late Don Paul, the previous owner of the building and operator of DP’s bar. Caudill said it has been a popular drink during soft opens. It features Crown Royal, Canadian Whiskey, Cointreau, fresh orange, and ginger ale.

Among renovations Spridgeon made to the space include adding copper bar tops, high-top tables, 1920s-style furniture, couches, Persian rugs and whiskey barrels used as bar tops. 

He said the bar customers walk into today is the bar he saw in his mind when he first walked into the building in March. 

“I created a place that I want to go to,” Spridgeon said, adding that he hopes customers feel the same.

He said he thinks customers will ask themselves, “Am I in Tiffin?”

“I feel like I’m in a different city, like Chicago or New York,” Spridgeon said of what he thinks customers will feel. “We’re trying to bring the class back to Tiffin without the classy price.” 

He said Frank Sinatra tunes and jazz will be the order of the day.

Spridgeon also plans monthly events, including whiskey, wine or beer tastings with experts. The tastings and other events are to be held in a third-floor area called Barrel 51. During events, those areas will be open only to people who have a password. The bar also will host parties to celebrate the end of Prohibition and for holidays.

Spridgeon said a small plates menu is available, and deals have been made with The Empire at 138, Madison Street Tavern, Reino’s and Napoli’s for food to be picked up by Renaissance staff or delivered to the establishment.

He said there is one thing customers need to know before visiting the bar.

“You’re not going to find a better staff, the staff is incredible. They care, they really, really care,” Spridgeon said.

County Commissioner Mike Kerschner said earlier this week he is happy for the opening of the establishment and believes it will uphold a great tradition of businesses in that space.

Mayor Aaron Montz also was pleased that another business opened in downtown Tiffin.

“It’s truly exciting to have an establishment of this quality in downtown Tiffin,” he said. This project was a team project … That’s what Tiffin and Seneca County are all about.”

Spridgeon said he’s excited for the future.

“Angie and I are so excited that we moved closer to Tiffin,” he said. “We are totally ingrained and invested in Tiffin.”