When I first moved to Fort Wayne, I found it interesting that people refer to their neighborhoods by zip code. The ’05, the ’07, etc. It was one of those quirky things like “going to the lake” (which I assumed was one massive lake considering how many people went there) that I never truly understood until I became a fellow “Citizen Wayne” myself! The pride and passion with which people identify their neighborhoods is remarkable to see and as Fort Wayne starts to witness a revitalization of the downtown area, the residents of the ’07 are certainly a huge part of that.
If you live, work, or drive through the ’07 you will have noticed a recent addition that graces the streets of Broadway. The new, aptly named 07 Pub opened with little fanfare in early June and has been hopping ever since!
I popped into the pub to chat with owner Marcus Spillson to get the scoop on the Pub. Marcus grew up in Fort Wayne, his parents both went to South Side High School, and he was a ’99 graduate of Bishop Luers, where he played football with his co-owner and partner in the pub, Clancy Shank (’97 graduate of Bishop Luers). Marcus has always had a passion for the south side of Fort Wayne and although he left for ten years, when he came back for a wedding in town, he was drawn to a bar (the former Lombardo’s Lounge) that was for sale. The oil and gas company he worked for in Houston had just been sold and he was intrigued by this new possible venture. “I kept thinking about it and the next day I went and put an offer in. They countered, and the next think I knew, I owned a bar!”
The food and drink industry is in Marcus Spillson’s DNA. His great-grandfather, Nick Spillson, owned Berghoff Gardens, and was the proud holder of Fort Wayne’s very first liquor license after prohibition ended. A cut out from the newspaper article from April 6, 1933 is prominently on display at the pub. Marcus’ grandfather owned Fort Wayne’s famous 4 star French restaurant, Café Johnell, and his father ran the kitchen at Johnelli’s Pizza. Marcus’ first job was washing dishes at Café Johnell.
With his family history, it is easy to see how Marcus came to be the owner of the bar, but he was quick to point out that this wasn’t just any bar. “I wanted a neighborhood bar. I wouldn’t have done this anywhere else but here in the south side of Fort Wayne. We live in this neighborhood, I grew up in this neighborhood. We have a piece of the old South Side gym floor as part of our bar counter!”. Marcus wanted a place where people could hang out and grab some drinks. His dad knew how to cook and run a kitchen, and his partner Clancy had been a bartender for 10 years and could produce some amazing drinks.
“I had to decide who we were going to be. And I think what we want to be and what the neighborhood needs is a bar with great food. Not a restaurant.” And clearly, this was indeed what the neighborhood needed. Their very first day open, the demand was so high that they ran out of printer paper for their receipts and had to borrow some from a neighboring restaurant!
With over 14 beers on tap and their own infused liquors (including an intriguing sounding jalapeno-lemon vodka for bloody Mary’s), and wine, you won’t go thirsty! They are continuously adding to their drink arsenal and creating recipes as they determine what the patrons want. The food ranges from a variety of items including salads, flatbreads, wraps, burgers, wings, and pizzas. Everything you could possibly want in a neighborhood bar.
The 07 Pub currently seats 92 people and next summer they are looking to add some more outdoor seating options. They are planning to do new events on different nights, so be sure to check out their Instagram for their latest features and adventures. Trivia Night, which is held every Tuesday night at 8 pm has been a huge success. My friend and I popped in last Tuesday and were surprised by how many people were there. They have a local company called Tincture of Trivia come in to do live Trivia that you can play via your smart phone. It actually locks down your phone so you can’t Google answers…not that I tried…
Their current hours are on their website, as is their menu. They will be open on Sundays starting this weekend with Bloody Marys and mimosas, and continue their Sunday hours throughout the fall as they gear up for the Sunday football crowd. With eight flat screen TVs this will be the perfect spot to root for your favorite team. (Go Pack Go!) They will also be one of the stops on the upcoming bicycle pub crawl Le Tour de Fort ‘Roots Tour’ held Saturday, August 26th.
Whether you live in the ’07 or one of the many other cool neighborhoods in the Fort, be sure to pop in and check out the 07 Pub and enjoy great food, great drinks, and great friends.