World of Beer highlights New Brunswick’s flavor
When Kate Schliep first began working at the World of Beer franchise, her favorite beer was Pabst Blue Ribbon. A year later, after learning about the complexity of brewing, she appreciates craft beers and microbreweries.
World of Beer, an upscale sports bar and restaurant, opened today on George Street with the goal of highlighting New Brunswick’s local flavor.
The company, founded in Tampa, Fla., has expanded to several college towns across the United States. This is its first New Jersey location.
Will Mingo, one of the three franchisees opening this location, believes Rutgers is an underserved market for WOB’s niche.
“We thought we could bring something new and fresh and become a substantial part of the fabric of the city of New Brunswick,” Mingo said.
He envisions World of Beer as an upscale environment where patrons can watch Rutgers football and basketball games. WOB serves classic American tavern fare along with some original creations, such as a pint glass filled with spiced bacon.
The walls are covered with 29 high-definition televisions, and one gigantic screen occupies almost an entire wall.
But exposed bricks sit behind the modern gadgetry, and every table resembles a finished piece of wood. Schliep, now the product manager for this World of Beer location, said the establishment’s aesthetics are carefully planned.
“They want it to be new. They want it to be inviting, and they want it to be warm,” she said. “It’s supposed to be modern, comfortable — we want it to be clean.”
Directly beneath the massive television screen sits a small stage with a few unconnected speakers. Mingo and his partners plan to fill it with both local and national talent on a regular basis.
“We’ve seen that over the years, New Brunswick has a very rich live music culture,” he said. “And over the years, we’ve seen … that it’s started to erode. We’re looking to help revive the live music scene in town.”
The core of World of Beer’s sonic style is rock and Top 40 music, but the establishment will also host jazz musicians and play softer rock, Mingo said, adding that WOB will never charge cover.
But beer is in the title, and the customer’s experience is still centered on the many brews that WOB has to offer.
Mingo said 50 beers are available on tap, with more than 500 other varieties waiting in the refrigerator if someone wishes to try something different. More than 44 countries are represented in WOB’s arsenal.
Still, Mingo said WOB attempts to represent the local flavor and support regional microbreweries.
“Our focus is ‘drink local, support local,’ so we feature a lot of products from local New Jersey brewers,” Mingo said.
Some local breweries will brew special varieties specifically for WOB. Flying Fish, a brewery based in Somerdale, N.J., is making a special batch that will only be available at this WOB location, Mingo said.
Schliep said customers could expect to learn more about what they are drinking when they walk in the bar.
“Generally speaking, there’s not a whole lot of knowledge that surrounds [craft and microbreweries],” she said. “There’s so much more to beer — it’s an art form. It’s been around for thousands and thousands of years.”
WOB wants to foster more appreciation of nontraditional varieties of beer and allow the public to become more acquainted with the myriad options, Schliep said.
To achieve that end, she added, all staff members take a two-week course on the history and intricacies of beer.
Mingo stressed WOB’s accessibility to Rutgers students, despite its intentionally upscale atmosphere.
“Many of our units are in college towns,” he said. “We’re focused on catering to our college audience.”
Every Wednesday, Mingo said WOB plans to run a “WOB University” special that offers select drafts at half price to Rutgers students and faculty with valid identification.
The people serving students their beer are likely to be students themselves. Mingo said the most his employees are Rutgers students and alumni.
Schliep said she would look more favorably upon a student who was applying for a job.
“I really like the young, vivacious people,” Schliep said. “I’m always stressing local beer, so why not staff? They know the area. They know what’s going to work.”
Brian Mooney, who attended an invite-only soft opening with his wife and son, was impressed by the contrast World of Beer provides with New Brunswick’s existing bars.
“I didn’t expect to see 50 beers on tap in such a big room,” he said. “It’s a lot different than what you typically see in a place to go out around town, that’s for sure.”