PHOTOS: The Drinkery by Cory Holds Grand Opening Friday
It's rare that a small businesses is actually successful. It's even more rare when that business is a restaurant. Rarer, still, is when that businesses is so successful that it branches off into a second business.
But that's exactly what happened with The Drinkery by Cory.
The Drinkery by Cory is the brainchild of Cory Poulos, owner and operator of Occasions by Cory, a restaurant/event venue/catering company in Downtown Casper.
The Drinkery, formerly Urban Bottle, is the next evolution of Poulos' business plan and it held its grand opening on Friday, November 25.
"We've been at our other location for three years now and really have almost just outgrown that location, as far as event space need," Poulos told K2 Radio News. "And so, with this [building] becoming available, it just kind of worked into our concept. It was just a nice subsidiary company. It's something that makes sense for us to branch out and do this piece."
And that's exactly what they've done. Urban Bottle was previously a liquor store/bar owned by John and Lauren Griffith. The store went on a bit of a hiatus last year, but now it's open again, as of Friday.
"[John and Lauren] created an amazing space down here," Poulos said. "The building's beautiful and the location's great. We hope to make the area in general - John and Lauren and everybody else in the area - we hope to add value to this area and bring people to this area, and that helps everybody's business. We just want to offer something that's just a little bit different than what everyone else has to offer."
There is no shortage of bars and brewery's in Downtown Casper. There's The Office Bar and Grill, The Gaslight Social, Backwards Distilling Co., Frontier Brewing, Black Tooth Brewing, Yellowstone Bar and Grill, and more. The Drinkery hopes to add another level of prestige, but Poulos believes Downtown Casper is already the place to be in Casper. That's why he opened his restaurant there three years ago.
Poulos said that The Drinkery, like Urban Bottle before it, will serve as both a bar and as a package liquor distributor. Additionally, the space will serve as a lunch-on-the go spot, as well.
"We're gonna have a charcuterie board, which is open today," Poulos said. "Then we'll have salads and wraps in the cooler that are already pre-made, so people can just pop in for lunch. They could sit in here and eat or they could get it to go and take it back to the office. We'll also have baked pizzas and pastas in the cooler. They'll all come from our other location and they'll be packaged there and brought over here."
Poulos said The Drinkery will also offer food delivery from his restaurant.
"Primarily, it's a bar," he stated. "We'll be open five days a week as a bar. We'll use it as event space as needed as well. So somebody can rent it just like they would the other building, and we'll cater to that."
One of the first drink specials that The Drinkery is offering is a fun twist on a classic. Or, actually, a fun twist on 12 classics.
"We're testing out the new cocktail menu, and it starts off with 12 classic cocktails and 12 of their modern counterparts," Poulos said. "So, for instance, we have a traditional old fashioned and then a modern version of it. We'll do that with a Paloma, a Negroni, and other versions of the most classic cocktails."
Poulos said that the drink menu serves as a physical embodiment of the spirit of the building, the spirit of the space.
"I think the building kind of suits that," he said. "It's like, classic - with the brick and the old school look - and then the touches of modern style that are in here as well. That was the philosophy behind the drink menu. And we've got good local beer on tap and a really nice wine list, too. It's just kind of all-inclusive; a little more upscale place to come to downtown."
It's just the latest example of the evolution of Downtown Casper, which will also include the addition of Jeffree Star's new retail shop, which will take over The Hall on Ash.
Star will be selling yak meat and products from his cosmetics line and he has been very vocal about Downtown Casper being the place to come to in this city.
Given his love for downtown, then, it wasn't surprising to see him belly up at the bar on the day of the grand opening of The Drinkery.
Even though he doesn't drink, Star does love supporting local businesses, and that's exactly what he was doing on Friday when he parked his pink Rolls Royce right outside of the bar.
"So, I have a tradition that every Sunday here in Casper, I go to brunch at Occasions by Cory," Star told K2 Radio News. "He has the best waffles and whipped cream. So at the same time I was looking to buy my spot, Cory had just purchased this and I thought it was so cool that downtown is starting to fill up more. So I even though I don't drink, they have a lot of great non-alcoholic drinks, The vibe is good and it's nice to see this building open. I can't wait to see it active, with more of a nightlife down here with the Gaslight. I love the atmosphere."
So, too, did everybody else who spent an hour or two there. The bar was full and the foyer was hopping as well. Everybody, it seemed, wanted to spend a little of their Black Friday at The Drinkery.
Throughout Black Friday and possibly the rest of the weekend, Poulos is running a 50 percent off special on some of the drinks that are leftover from the Urban Bottle. From beer, to wine, to liquor and more, now is the time to pick up some holiday supplies at a great price.
Poulos said that being able to open The Drinkery, in addition to his first restaurant, is a dream come true. And it couldn't have happened without the community.
"It means a lot," he stated. "It means that people are supporting the business. They're enjoying their experiences. I didn't anticipate myself being here, but you see an opportunity and you go for it and you just work hard. And it's nice to see the reward of people enjoying what you do; enjoying your food, enjoying your drinks and just being able to create a little bit of a different atmosphere"
Poulos said without the community, neither The Drinkery, nor Occasions by Cory, would have been able to happen. They also wouldn't have been able to happen without his collection of employees, all of whom, he has said, have contributed to the success of the businesses.
Poulos isn't sure what the future holds but, for now, the present is keeping him pretty busy. And he's very, very happy about that.
"It's a little surreal sometimes," he shared. "And it means a lot. I've done a lot of things, work-wise, in my time and I think that when you find the right thing at the right time, and you work hard at it, that's kind of the formula for success. It's a lot of work - keeping employees happy and trying to do all those are things - it's a balancing act. But it's one that seems to be working. And we're going to continue doing it."
The Drinkery by Cory is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 11am to 10pm or later.