Returning bar fills hole Uptown
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 00:09
Gearing up to create a splash in Oxford’s bar scene, 13 West High St.’s past becomes present with the return of a household name. After a stint of changing hands and names, the venue has returned to the former glory of its 80s namesake: Hole in the Wall Bar.
The name originated when its current license holder, Frank Shoker, returned from studying law at the University of Oxford, England. Shoker said he took a liking to the stone walls of the building, once a former storage cellar for Mennis & Bernar, as they reminded him of the pubs he had frequented while abroad.
According to Shoker, the bar was originally opened with hopes of recreating the small pub atmosphere of which he had become so fond of. He, his son Chris Shoker and family friend Jim Madden purchased the property and made a hole in the street-side wall so the cellar could be accessed from street level, consequently naming the venue.
Today, Shoker said he hopes the bar’s reinstitution will bring Oxford the same 80s atmosphere and charm from back in the day.
“I love Oxford. I’ve been here for 51 years…I love the old buildings [and] the atmosphere,” Shoker said, “I want to give the town and the university a place to sit down and have a drink without having to worry about anyone hassling or disturbing them.”
In addition to remodeling the interior, Shoker said he and his wife, Laurie, have decided to add a separate restaurant on the other side of the establishment.
Hoping to make the venue a place accommodating for both students and community members, Shoker said the yet-unnamed restaurant will be a family-friendly space.
Laurie Shoker mentioned a few items from her expanding menu. Charley Biggs Fried Chicken, a number of steak and sandwich options, and vegetarian and gluten-free menu items will all be offered.
According to Laurie, the restaurant will turn into a vodka bar starting around 10 p.m. This, Laurie said, will hopefully allow the restaurant to appeal to a very diverse clientele and work to attract people from a wide variety of demographics.
“Although I’ve only been a time or two since their recent reopening, they’re planning on having some really great things,” Miami University sophomore Adam Darby said. “Even if you’re under legal drinking age, they [will] still have a lot of stuff that everyone can do. You can play pool, grab some food or just go with some friends and relax. It’s going to be an absolutely incredible space.”
Although the bar and restaurant are still being renovated, Shoker said he hopes to have the establishment fully functional in two weeks. The bar will be open in the meantime, and the owners said they plan to add themed nights to the bar’s dynamic.
Whether it’s DJs or performing artists Friday or Saturday, Open Mic Night Sunday or Karaoke Wednesday, Hole in the Wall Bar plans on providing a variety of engaging activities.
Hole in the Wall Bar is available for group reservations and will cater. Information about any events, concerts or specials can be found on its Facebook page.