Dogpatch Saloon Changes Hands
By Keith Burbank
Dogpatch Saloon has new owners, who plan to make changes to the iconic bar while maintaining its essential spirit. “We want the Dogpatch Saloon to be a neighborhood place,” said one of the four new proprietors, Marc Goldfine, who has roughly 14 years of experience as a bartender. Goldfine and his partners – Chris Barry, Sky Wegman, and Derek Jostad – also own five-year old 83 PROOF, at 83 First Street. Barry and Wegman are experienced bartenders; Jostad is adept at accounting.
At Dogpatch Saloon the four men plan to “beef up the beer” – adding draft beer – and “booze selection” – with new cocktails on the menu, Goldfine said. All of the beer taps and most of the bar equipment will be replaced. The saloon’s previous owner, Mike Apicelli, will take some things with him, prompting changes to the décor. “We want it to be a welcoming place,” said Goldfine. “The neighborhood has some history,” indicating that new furnishings may be added that pays tribute to Union Iron Works, Bethlehem Steel and the Pier 70 shipyard. “We’re still finalizing some of the plans,” he said.
Apicelli owned the Saloon, which was previously named “Bouncers,” for nearly 14 years. He gave the bar its current appellation, and claims that he was the first person in the neighborhood to name something “Dogpatch.” According to Zagat 2013 ratings, Dogpatch Saloon has “friendly folks” and a “laid back atmosphere with comfy booths,” a pool table and jukebox, reminding some of “what a corner bar should be…jazz fans…” insist that thirsty customers “must visit on Sunday.” Each Sunday the bar hosts a jazz jam, which will continue under the new ownership.
Apicelli started the tradition nine years ago, after another place that hosted the event closed. “Why don’t we start something,” Apicelli asked his friend, neighbor, and drummer Vince Lateano, and jazz on Sundays was born. Every week Lateano plays drums, with Andrew Speight on saxophone. “My dream was to have a bar with jazz,” Apicelli said. “I’m a music buff, but jazz is what’s it’s all about for me.” The retiring owner listened to WBAL in Baltimore when he lived in Groton, Connecticut, his hometown. He heard Billy Holiday and jazz, and “that’s how [my love for jazz] started.”
According to Goldfine, the bar will continue operating in its current form until mid-January. It’ll then close for renovations, reopening by the end of March. “That’s ideal,” Goldfine said of the reconstruction schedule. “It’s an old building. So, you never know what you will find.” The new owners may make some changes to the saloon’s staff, after they assess what each current employee wants to do, and determine if that meshes with their plans. “They’re some good people there,” Goldfine said, but customers will probably see some new faces.
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