By popular demand
Harrison's On Third is a bar shaped by the people, for the people. Before the Victorian Village bar even saw a paint roller, the owners came up with a wild idea: let the public help create the bar.
"We let people vote [via e-mail] on everything from color scheme, draft beer [selections] and menu items," said general manager David Moeser.
The experiment in barroom democracy worked, and Harrison's opened its doors for business last month. The bar's sage and portobello-colored walls house lively crowds. Exposed ductwork and brick give the large, airy pub the feel of an upscale loft - a welcome change from the dark, dingy feel of former occupant B. Hampton's Bar and Grill.
"Our goal is not to be a sports bar or a nightclub, but somewhere in between," he said.
Friday nights the music gets cranked and the masses bump elbows, but stop by most evenings and you'll likely find a mix of young professionals nestled in roomy booths and tables overlooking the long patio outside.
Harrison's inspired bar menu prompts many after-work excursions. Standouts include the Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich ($8) - with golden raisins, dried currants and mango chutney - and the Classic Cuban Sandwich ($9), highlighted by blackened chicken, honey ham, pineapple and Havana slaw. Sweet potato fries or Kiki's Briam, a Greek vegetable medley, make great sidekicks.
In addition to several popular appetizers and burgers, Harrison's thin-crust pies garner attention, especially the BBQ Chicken Pizza and Hawaiian-style Aloha Zah ($10). The bar features daily specials during happy hour, like Tuesday's $5 one-topping pizzas and Thursday's $5 specialty martinis and $2 Washington Apples.
Harrison's long bar offers a solid selection of drinkables. Bottled beers include a variety of goodies like Abita Purple Haze ($4.25), Great Lakes Burning River ($3.75) and New Holland's Dragon's Milk ($12.50 for 22-ounce bottle). On draft, options include PBR ($2.50), Sam Adams' Winter Lager and Bell's Two Hearted Ale ($4).
The bar is still working on a martini list, but it's sure to benefit from Harrison's large variety of flavored vodkas.
"We [also] want to get a rewards program going, like Giant Eagle or Kroger," Moeser added.
And here I thought drinking was its own reward.
Harrison's On Third
335 W. Third Ave., Victorian Village
Hours: 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Saturday, 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Sunday
Happy Hour: 4-8 p.m. Monday-Friday: $1.50 domestic drafts, $1.75 domestic bottles, $2 well drinks