Polaris visitors can now grab a beer in a somewhat unlikely location: the mall food court

Last weekend, The Daily Growler opened its newest location inside Polaris Fashion Place. This makes four total locations for the beer bar and growler-fill shop, including venues in Upper Arlington, Powell and the Brewery District.

The grand opening was celebrated in style, with a 20-minute parade around the top level of the mall, a live jazz band, stilt walkers, banners and a ribbon cutting.

“It was honestly kind of surreal,” said owner John Blakely. “Before, we were standalone locations or in a strip mall. This time we had a much larger entity to coordinate with in Washington Prime Group and Polaris; they had a lot more resources and ideas. It’s very different than anything we’ve done before, and the reception was fantastic.”

“It was something that Washington Prime had approached us about,” Blakely continued. “Malls are looking for local, smaller businesses and retailers. It seemed like it could be a really good fit, and was worth the risk. There aren’t a lot of growler shops or bars inside shopping centers. We’re the first one in Ohio that we know of.”

The new location, which takes up 800 square feet in the mall’s indoor food court, is similar to the existing Daily Growler locations. “The idea is that you walk in and you get a sense that you’re at a Daily Growler,” Blakely said. It features 36 taps of beer, cider and a non-alcoholic root beer. Blakely has also partnered with Simple Times Mixers to create draft cocktails like a house margarita and mule mixer.

Blakely is pleased with the response so far, although it will take time to familiarize visitors with a beer bar in a mall food court. “We’ve been getting a lot of curious looks,” he said. “The manager said it was like a zoo exhibit. … People would sit outside the bar and stare.”

The location also includes an outdoor patio, which will add seating in warmer months. Blakely’s goal is to cultivate regulars out of mall employees, nearby hotel guests and people working in the immediate vicinity through special events and happy hours.

“It’ll be a great place to shop, or to drink while a loved one is shopping,” Blakely said.

The Daily Growler Polaris is open Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-7 p.m.