EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s a massive bank on the corner of Washington and East 5th Street in East Liverpool.
The bank has been quiet since 2015, but two Columbiana County natives saw something in the building that’s now led to its revival.
Starting next year, you’ll be able to try dozens of local beers and wines in the bank whose walls hold a century of history.
“The bank was built in the 20s and all the potteries, East Liverpool was known as the pottery capital of the US, and this was where the potteries did all their banking,” said Randy Schneider, co-owner of the upcoming Renovatio’s Taproom & Restaurant.
You can see in the basement where brick work closed off underground tunnels and tubes where they would funnel money to businesses.
“The mob used to run the bank back in the 30s and all the businesses were so afraid of being robbed that they used the tunnels underground to go through and bring the money into the bank and there’d be a guy down here from the bank in the mob collecting the money,” he said.
When you walk in the front door, you’ll see old bank notes they found inside the walls.
What used to be a booming pottery town is now a bit more quiet, and that’s what they hope to change with the opening of Renovatio’s.
“After 4 p.m., downtown is dead. You can hear a pin drop through the streets down here and we hope to change and revitalize all that, get people out and about and happy to walk around,” Schneider said.
They’ll have 40 beers on tap, a brick oven for pizza and a mug club with your own safety deposit box.
“The vault, we actually lit up the gears inside to see all the unique gears and functions,” he said.
Turning this bank into a taproom hasn’t been easy with the pandemic and the ongoing water problems in East Liverpool.
Still, it was something they decided to push through, using the old building as a metaphor for renewed hope on the other side of what’s been a long, tough year.
“Taking a piece of history that’s vacant and desolate out here and giving them hope that there’s going to be back to life in the way it was as a restaurant and taproom,” Schneider said. “That’s the whole kind of concept we’ve been going with the last few months … people need hope right now and this has given people a lot of hope and excitement.”
They don’t have a set date for their grand opening, but are hoping for a soft opening between Christmas and the New Year.
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