The Auricle can be a little hard to find—it’s in the basement—but once you do find it, the literally underground bar has plenty to keep you around.
“We try to be as eclectic as possible,” said owner Josh Brewer.
The bar has taps packed with craft beer, arcade games, pool and pingpong and plenty of comfy booths. The Auricle, which will celebrate its fifth birthday April 1, also hosts weekly events—Friday Dance Nights (utilizing the bar’s “stellar sound system”), Sunday Beer Club, Monday Cult Movie Night, Thursday Game Nights. Brewer also is looking to get back to The Auricle’s roots as a music venue, by bringing in more shows.“We try to accept everybody. We’re very laidback, easy-going people,” Brewer said.
“Personally, I never used to like going to bars. When I opened a bar, I wanted to open a bar that I would want to go to, that I felt comformtable in,” Brewer said.
Brewer answers some more questions about downtown’s underground hot spot:
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING CATEGORIZED A HIPSTER BAR?
I’m sure a lot of people see us as hipsters. But honestly, we’re open. We get everybody and anybody down here. I don’t know if it’s because we do craft beer or we play indie music a lot or we’re a bunch of nerds. I don’t necessarily know why we’re classified that way, but I can understand why we are … You’ve got bro bars, you’ve got hole-in-the-wall bars, old-man bars, why not be a hipster bar?
WHAT MAKES THE AURICLE UNIQUE?
In comparison to other bars, we’re more of a chilled, laid-back spot. During the week, unless we have an event going, you can come down here, and there isn’t really loud music … our patrons seem to be very respectful and courteous. We’re just different. We don’t play sports. We don’t sell a lot of Bud Light. We’re a craft beer bar … we’ve been doing it since we’ve been open. Now we have over 140 different beers, and we’re looking to expand.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MORE POPULAR EVENTS?
Obviously our Dance Night (every Friday) is the most popular event we have, and it’s done well since we’ve been open. Our beer club on Sunday is really popular. We get a lot of people down for that. That’s because I feature a brewery and feature a draft and bottle usually from them, and I sell it exceptionally cheaper than I normally would, for that night. Not only are you getting some kind of limited and rare or harder to find, you’re getting it at a really cheap price. We do karaoke monthly, and that does really well; (the February one) had an hour wait.
WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF THE AURICLE?
I think we’re here to stay. People love coming here … I think with downtown progressing the way it is with everything, the potential to grow our clientele base and become kind of a hot spot downtown, more than we already are, is definitely there. I always like to think of this place as a sanctuary for people. I like the fact that we’re a chill bar, so I never really want to be the rowdy, rowdy place. I want us to grow in clientele, but I don’t ever want to be the place that’s super packed and banging. I’m OK with keeping it chill and low-key … I want it to be a place where people find refuge. They can come down with a friend and have good conversation and good beer and hang out, play some free pool and free pingpong, darts, arcade, hang out and watch a movie, talk to the bartenders and find common interests with others. I want it to be a hangout.
Other hipster hangs:
A downtown Canton hangout since 1959, George’s takes its location in the thick of the Arts District to heart with live music at least three times a week. The bar is old-school cool— weathered booths and bar stools crammed around a center wooden bar and serves everything from cheap domestics to craft beer and cocktails.
>>LIVE MUSIC: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and First Friday
>>FOOD: kitchen open till 2 a.m. with gourmet grassfed beef burgers
One of Stark County’s distilleries, H&H Distillery, specializes in small-batch liquor that’s bottled by hand. You can grab a bottle of Uncle Higgins vodka or rum at local liquor stores or the distillery in downtown Minerva, which features exposed brick walls and a bar made of reclaimed wood and other materials. Stop by throughout the week for a tasting, chat with the owners, and take a look at the copper still.
>>TASTINGS: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday
Cultured Coffee & Waffles
Featuring brews of both the caffeinated and alcoholic variety, Cultured Coffee is the perfect spot to hang out with friends, catch some live music or get to work on your novel. The shop offers fair-trade coffee and tea, alongside craft beers and recently added food.
>>FOOD: Food-truck-style waffles can be topped with a number of add-ons, such as chocolate chips, icing, sprinkles, Nutella and fresh berries.
>>SPECIALS: Its to-go cups come with a little mustache sticker—so much cooler than Starbucks.
Home of Ohio’s longest-running open mic night, Karma Cafe is dedicated to showcasing local art, including popular local bands and up-and-coming musicians. Alongside tons of local shows, the cafe also hosts community events including fundraisers and meetings. The indie coffee shop pries itself on its strong, but smooth, custom-roasted coffee that doesn’t need any flavoring and delicious menu.
>>MIC NIGHT: 7 to 10 p.m. every Wednesday
>>FOOD: Grab a salad or wrap for lunch, or treat yourself with a slice of indulgent cheesecake.
It’s an art gallery, live music venue and now a full-service pizzeria and kitchen. There are regular public concerts Friday or Saturday (check the schedule online).
Born in April 2015, Buzzbin Arcade (right next to the popular bar and music venue), offers a heavy dose of nostalgia. The space has at least 16 pinball machines, with themes ranging from South Park to Elvis Presley, alongside Skee-Ball and other traditional arcade games. The games cost anywhere from a quarter to 75 cents. A liquor license, to take advantage of the 57-foot wooden bar in the back, is coming soon.
>>LATE-NIGHT FUN: open from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily
Drinks with friends. An after work meet-up to dissect the day’s work. Throwing back a pint or two during the big game. Romantic moments over a bottle of fine red. Saturday night dance parties. Acoustic riffs and raucous crowds. Celebrating with a bottle of bubbly.
Whatever the occasion, Stark County’s watering holes are as diverse as their patrons.
As the sun goes down and you begin your search for killer cocktails, handcrafted selections, expert whiskey slingers or lively entertainment, let Stark After Dark be your essential guide.