Jason Bodley is a man who knows and loves his liquor. Bodley, a self-proclaimed cocktail enthusiast, will soon be sharing his passion and knowledge of spirits with downtown Warsaw with the opening of his new bar, Oak and Alley.
As the name would infer, the bar will utilize an alley entrance located at 114 S. Buffalo St., directly behind Three Crowns Coffee. Bodley noted the bar will follow the trend of many big city locations by working with the building’s strengths. Call it progressive thinking. It’s also one of the first downtown businesses to take advantage of the city’s push for uses of alleyways.
In September 2013, Warsaw city leaders introduced the idea of including alleyways to better utilize downtown space by opening more “store fronts,” improve alleyways and provide downtown businesses with more opportunities.
Currently, only Noblesville and Columbus provide similar programs in Indiana. The most obvious use for alleyway utilization is for restaurants to offer outdoor dining areas.
“We are kind of embracing that Brooklyn-style where you embrace what you have,” said Bodley. “One of my favorite bars in Chicago is in an alley and it’s amazing. We are definitely embracing what we have, a sweet room and an alley entrance.”
“Cuisine-wise I’d say we are going to be pub-inspired or liquor-inspired. The way these dishes are coming about is through a wealth of knowledge of drinking and thinking, ‘man what do I want to eat right now?’ That is the idea here. What we have on the menu will be what we like to eat when we drink. We are definitely a bar first, cocktails first,” explained Bodley.
Bodley noted that though the Warsaw area has a strong craft beer presence and appreciation, his main hope in opening the bar is to inspire a cocktail scene locally.
“I have a real love for the history of cocktailing and the history of it, in terms of who was making cocktails 100 years ago and where they were making them … We like weird ideas … I definitely respect classics, but we will also have fun ideas that we come up with.”