If you’ve talked to me for more than 5 seconds or so, chances are The Patriarch has come up. I love talking about this place, and while there are a ton of fantastic bars in the OKC Metro, The Patriarch has easily become my favorite place to grab a beer. Growing up in Edmond, I never expected to have a place like it down the road, and now that I do I’m not sure how I knew joy before its existence. We recently hung out with Stephen Viljoen, General Manager of The Patriarch, and had a blast talking about the bar, its inception, and what it means for the community around it.
The idea for The Patriarch came from two local guys, Steven Russell and Bryce Thompson, and their desire for a place in Edmond with a great, homey environment in which to share their love of craft beer. When they saw the big, white, Victorian house sitting off Broadway in downtown Edmond, they knew they found the spot. The house was built in 1903 by William Hunt, who helped found Citizens Bank in Edmond, and is known as ‘The Hunt House’. The house wasn’t for sale, but Russell and Thompson made an offer to the owners anyways…and were shot down. Not to be deterred, they circled back around to the owners a month later, made another offer, and made the deal. The sale was finalized in September of 2014, and then the real fun began.
The new owners of The Hunt House went in front of the Edmond City Council in order to open the bar, and luckily the vote went in their favor (only one person voted against it, and while I don’t know who that person is, they can suck it). Russell and Thompson received fantastic support from other business in downtown who realized what a business like this could do for the city, so they went to work building it. Both guys work in the construction industry, so they spearheaded all the renovations themselves. Still working at their day jobs, they each put in an additional 40 to 50 hours a week transforming the 2,100 square-foot, 111-year-old house into a bar. It’s hard to believe the scope of the renovations, both inside and outside, that the owners and their team accomplished in just 8 months, but The Patriarch opened in May of 2015 with an all new look. The bar has 48 taps, great hangout spaces on the first and second stories, a huge patio, and even space for a food truck or two outside to feed the patrons.
“Community Through Beer” is the mission statement of The Patriarch and they are absolutely nailing it. There aren’t TVs inside, and the two that do exist outside are covered the majority of the time. Wifi isn’t available either, so you won’t see a bunch of people sitting around on laptops in the middle of the day, locked into their own little worlds. As someone that is very easily distracted I’m very likely to zone out while looking at a TV at a restaurant or bar, so this has been a huge breath of fresh air. The focus here is to experience the beer, experience the people around you, and have actual conversations with actual people instead of just dicking around on your phone or watching the same highlights on SportsCenter over and over again.
Community is also a big focus when it comes to what’s coming out of the taps. Of the 48 taps behind the bar, the goal is to have local Oklahoma beers on at least half of them. That means at any given time, you can walk in have have the opportunity to select from around 25 local beers, holy crap that’s awesome! In addition to the number of options, The Patriarch does a great job of experimenting with those beers to put their own unique spin on already fantastic pours. I’ve had COOP F5, Anthem IPA, Prairie Bomb, and many other great beers on nitro taps, all done by The Patriarch to bring new dimensions to beers we love. They also have a couple of Randalls, a sweet invention by Dogfish Head which allows you to add flavors to enhance a beer as it comes off the tap, which have been used to add vanilla and cacao nibs to Elk Valley’s Coffee Nemesis as well as modifying Roughtail’s Pale Ale with pineapple and watermelon. Make sure to check out The Patriarch on social media so you can see what they are playing with on their Randall Tuesdays.
Huge thanks to Stephen for sitting down with us for as long as he did to talk about The Patriarch, and thanks to all the staff who have served me numerous delicious beers since May. If you haven’t been to this bar yet, make it a priority. I can’t wait for the next time that I’ll be sitting on one of their comfortable couches and talking to total strangers about Oklahoma beer, maybe I’ll even hear one of those ghosts stomping around on the 3rd floor…that’s right…freaking ghosts! Now THAT’S how you end a blog post.