Wet Your Whistle at New Self-Serve Bar

By Alexa Devore

Jambar contributor

When the whistle on the top of the Whistle and Keg blows, blocks away from Youngstown State University’s campus, business has begun.

Associate Haley Luckage said all beer connoisseurs, cider drinkers and wine lovers will like this place.

“Ever since we have opened, it has taken off,” Luckage said.

Bar owners brothers Mike and Joe Thomas, born and raised in Canfield, opened the bar in downtown Youngstown on the corner of Phelps and Federal St.

The brothers were on a trip in North Carolina where they were introduced to their first self-serve bar.

“They had a similar concept with less taps and we had such a good time as patrons we said we needed to bring this back to Youngstown,” Joe Thomas said.

The Whistle and Keg is an industrial styled bar with 44 taps, four of which are wines.

They showcase local brew companies, such as the Noble Creatures Cask House, which is not open yet, along with other breweries around the world, Luckage said

“The stout [we] have now from Samuel Smith, oatmeal stout, is the first keg Samuel Smith ever made and it is from the [United Kingdom],” Luckage said.

Luckage said she is typically there to help the guests.

“[The pub] is all self-served, and we are here to help a lot of people who don’t know much about the types of beer. When you want to eat, there are menus at the table,” Luckage said. “We’re trying to get people to fill out the menus [at the table] and bring them [to the front desk].”

The Whistle and Keg offers appetizer dishes if a customer needs something small to eat with their drink of choice, Luckage said.

“There is something for everybody, wines and ciders for people who do not want beer,” Luckage said.

The wristband offers the endless choice for variety of beer customers can choose from.

“You need an ID and a credit card; this will get you the wristband,” Luckage said.

The wristband is what controls the pour of the tab. Customers wear the wristband, and then tap the sensor located on the bottom right of every dispenser.

This is all done with iPourIt technology, a self-serve bartending system.

“The band measures ounces and each [beverage] is priced by ounce,” Luckage said. “The prices do vary depending on the beer, wine or cider chosen like PBR, craft beers and so on.”

Being so close to a college campus, Luckage said they have seen a diverse crowd so far.

“Definitely a lot of college kids but also young professionals, older people, families, so it has been a nice mix,” Luckage said.

Jayme Ritchie, a senior nursing student, stopped down to the Whistle and Keg and said she loved the atmosphere.

“It’s very chill and a cool place to go that isn’t as crazy, hectic as the bars across the street, it is more relaxed and laid back,” Ritchie said.

She said she only had one problem with the bar: the size. Other than this, Ritchie said her experience was worth it.

“Youngstown needed something like this, and I think they will do great,” Ritchie said.

For some industrial history, The Youngstown Sheet and Tube sign and whistle patrons will see and hear were donated by the owner of the building, so they can be displayed in the Whistle and Keg.

Luckage said the Whistle and Keg only accepts credit cards. If a wrist band is taken out of the bar, there is a $3 charge.

The Whistle and Keg is open Sunday through Wednesday, noon to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, noon to 2:30 a.m.