In Good Taste

Five and Dime Ale House Opens in Hampden

Oliver Brewing owners bring casual neighborhood spot to the Avenue.

Oliver Brewing founders Justin Dvorkin and Donald Kelly—who operate offshoot brewpubs Pratt Street Ale House, The Alehouse Columbia, and Park Tavern in Severna Park—weren’t hell-bent on adding a new restaurant to the Oliver family last year, but when they came across the old G.C. Murphy’s five-and-dime store on the Avenue in Hampden, ideas started flowing.

“A great opportunity came up,” Dvorkin says. “We weren’t looking for the sake of expanding, but this was the right space. Hampden has a lot of momentum right now.”

After rounds of renovations and interior upgrades, the duo premiered Five and Dime Ale House to the public earlier this week. The new neighborhood spot features a menu of beer flights paired with approachable pub grub in a laid-back setting that Dvorkin says offers up an entirely new option for diners in the community.

“Hampden is thriving on these chef-driven concepts that are really higher end and date-night centered,” he notes. “And there are also a lot of those tried-and-true bars that have been in the neighborhood a long time. We’re fitting somewhere in the middle, with a nice environment for people to get a burger and watch the game or bring the family. We want to see people a couple times a week.”

Under the helm of executive chef Matt Kane, formerly of B&O American Brasserie, the kitchen focuses on making everything from sauces to tortilla shells in-house. The menu highlights a variety burgers, salads, and pizzas (think crumbled meatball with mozzarella and ricotta or a margherita with garlic-infused olive oil and balsamic syrup), alongside heartier entrees like steak frites, roasted chicken, and miso-glazed salmon with sweet corn purée.

“We’re driven toward food that is higher quality, but approachable,” Dvorkin says. “It’s stuff you don’t need a dictionary or a thesaurus to figure out.”

Fittingly, Oliver ales, like the 3 Lions English Ale and Bishop’s Breakfast Oatmeal Stout, will take the spotlight on the draft lineup. Fifteen of the bar’s 40 local draft taps will be dedicated to Oliver’s beers, and the rest will be rotating guest lines from other breweries throughout the region.

The 150-seat space, which came equipped with exposed brick, tin ceilings, and long-panel windows overlooking the Avenue, has been updated to include leather furniture, sleek wood bar tops, and hand-painted lettering inside. The owners have also kept the original tile-work and painted Murphy’s logos above the front door to pay homage to the building’s history.

In addition to the first-floor bar and dining room, the brewpub’s top level boasts a private events space with its own bar, something that the owners are excited to debut just in time for the upcoming holiday party season.

Dvorkin says that feedback from neighbors who have stopped in over the past week has been positive and encouraging.

“It’s great to see them attach so early on,” he says. “This is the first time we really have the opportunity to become a part of a neighborhood. Pratt Street Ale House is right by the stadium and Columbia is kind of its own thing, but in Hampden people are within walking distance. Here we can really get involved and be thought of as that local neighborhood place.”