DOPE Cider House Will Open Saturday

YOUNGSTOWN – DOPE Cider House and Winery will open Saturday, bringing a new nightlife concept to downtown.

The intimate bar is located in a space that is part of Penguin City Brewing’s massive building at Andrews Avenue and East Federal Street. It has its own entrance and cannot be accessed through the brewery’s taproom.

Hannah Ferguson is the owner and as well as the cider and wine maker.

The room, which has been painted entirely in black, has a 13-seat bar. Couches and plush chairs provide comfortable seating along the walls and on a platform at the rear. Several television screens are mounted on the walls.

The barroom has a garage door that provides an open-air connection to the patio. About 25 people can be seated on the patio, which has a firepit for cool evenings.

A custom-made art fixture on one wall displays wine bottles with labels that depict or honor Youngstown businesses and places.

The overall effect is one of simple but comfortable elegance – a cozy place for conversation over jazz or R&B music.

DOPE’s small size stands in contrast to the giant and airy Penguin City taproom next door, providing an alternative to the brewery’s atmosphere and beverages.

It will also offer pre-made charcuterie boards for snacking, and there is almost always a food truck parked out front.

Ferguson summed up the atmosphere.

“It’s a coffeehouse feel with a happy hour vibe,” she said. “I just want people to be comfortable when they come in, have a nice glass of cider or wine, and leave wanting to come back.”

DOPE stands for “Dwelling On Positive Energy,” which is the motto for the business and the feeling Ferguson hopes her customers absorb and exude.

“I want to highlight the meaning of DOPE, the positive vibes,” Ferguson said. “I want customers to feel that energy in here.”

Eight beverages will be on tap at all times, subject to change as new products become ready. For opening weekend, there will be six ciders – including cherry, pineapple, peach, mango, and a cherry-Penguin City ale blend – as well as a nonalcoholic option and a Moscato wine.

The alcohol content of cider is similar to beer, Ferguson points out. DOPE ciders are in the 6% ABV range.

Opening her own cider house has been a longtime dream for Ferguson. She is committed to the rebirth of her hometown and moved back to the city from Florida several years ago with a goal of eventually starting the business.

Ferguson got started as a beer brewer and previously worked in that capacity at Modern Methods in Warren.

She soon branched into cider making, describing the process as similar to winemaking but with a shorter fermentation time.

DOPE Cider House and Winery will be open from 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 4-10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Pictured at top: Hannah Ferguson stands behind the bar of DOPE Cider House and Winery.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.