By Julie Carle
BG Independent News
Sports will be front and center along with an interesting food menu and a full selection of beer and mixed cocktails at The ROW sports bar and grill in downtown Bowling Green.
The newest bar at 130 E. Wooster St., takes over where Reverends was located.
Owners Matthew Poca and Michael “Wally” Wahle named the bar Rollin’ on Wooster or The ROW, for short. The name was the creative genius of co-owner Wahle, who, when asked if he would keep the name Reverend’s, responded, “No, I’m rollin’ on from that.”
The bar incorporates a rowing theme to align with the name. Oars hang on the walls and the 25 staff members wear shirts labeling them “Crew” rather than “Staff,” Poca explained.
Very few renovations to the interior were needed to get the bar ready for business. The exposed brick walls that encompassed the previous bar space continue to offer a welcoming and comfortable venue for food, beverages and camaraderie. And sports watching. A total of 14 televisions were added throughout the space to make sure everyone can view a screen wherever they are seated.
“It’s all sports of some kind, all the time,” Poca said. During football season, crowd NFL favorites – Browns, Lions and Steelers – are usually what’s showing on the screens. “But we also try to stay on top of what’s going on, like when the US Men’s Soccer Team played The Netherlands in the World Club, we opened early and welcomed soccer fans,” he added.
They also added an inside window to order food and opened the space by removing a set of cabinets. “We want to make it a place where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome,” said Poca, who grew up in Swanton, worked in the service industry for 18 years, and moved to Bowling Green in 2008.
“We kept a few of Reverend’s favorites: the Rapture Dip is still here and the Buffalo Chicken Tacos. But we switched the menu a bit by adding my favorite menu item, Smashburgers,” he
said. Instead of serving one seven-ounce hamburger patty, the Smashburger features two four-ounce patties that get “smushed” together when they hit the grill to keep the burgers juicy. Two slices of cheese up the cheese factor.
The drink menu features a variety of handcrafted cocktails, including fresh fruit cocktails like the strawberry-basil Moscow Mule, and plenty of good craft beers. To support local small businesses, they make an effort to have beers on tap from BG-based Juniper Brewing Company and Inside the Five Brewing Company, with locations in Sylvania and Perrysburg.
“We try to keep some interesting and local brews available,” Poca said.
Hours are 3 pm to 2 am Monday through Friday and noon to 2 am on Saturday and Sunday.
The kitchen opens when the business opens and closes at midnight Monday through Thursday, at 1 am on Friday and Saturday, and at 10 pm on Sunday.
Although the sports bar opened in September in time to celebrate Bowling Green State University’s 100th Homecoming, the city will officially welcome the sports bar during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 pm Tuesday. Mayor Mike Aspacher and BG Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Hinkelman will provide comments and help cut the ribbon.