The Wellington Pub, An Important Incubator of Indiana Craft Beer, Closes March 7th

The Wellington Pub, An Important Incubator of Indiana Craft Beer, Closes March 7th

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

The Corner Wine Bar and The Wellington Pub opened in 1982. They are closing on Wednesday, March 7th. Walter and I had dates in The Welly prior to our marriage, and we returned on Valentine’s Day several times. In many ways, our introduction to good beer came at The Wellington in the 1990s, before we discovered Broad Ripple Brewpub, but after we had already started haunting Union Jack.

The Wellington was where we discovered Bourbon County Brand Stout, back when Goose Island was an actual craft brewery and didn’t ship out infected product. Lately, we have been enjoying the fireplace, nooks, and Bell’s Two Hearted mostly when we are there to cheer on the dart team of our friend Steve.

John and Nancy Hill opened the CWB/Welly with bold ideas. It was one of the first restaurants to serve wine by the glass, and the Wellington was an authentic English pub with dartboards and music downstairs in the wine cellar. It might have been American bluegrass and not English drinking tunes, but the drinking music was often heard upstairs anyway.

Basically, the Wellington and CWB were a birthplace of Indiana craft beer and eventually the Brewers of Indiana Guild. John and Nancy would have poetry readings there, and it turned out that many poets were also home brewers. By growing Indianapolis home brewing, the stage was set for John to mimic the success he had serving wine, but this time with house brewed beer. In 1990, this dream turned into the Broad Ripple Brewpub.

Elizabeth Morse and Liz Zapata purchased the CWB/The Wellington/The Wine Cellar in 2001, and continued the traditions started by John and Nancy Hill. CWB and The Wellington still had much success, and have been serving fine wines and beers along with locally source food, often with special dinner menus, up through this past weekend.

Morse and Zapata posted on the Corner Wine Bar Facebook page, “It’s been a hell of a run, but all good things must come to an end. Liza and I are officially retiring! We have sold Corner Wine Bar and our last day at the helm will be Wednesday, March 7.” Further questioning as to whether that might mean that The Welly and CWB could remain open under new ownership was answered with the statement, “New owners, new place coming soon.” There’s only one thing to do now – get to the Wellington Pub before Thursday and breathe in that atmosphere one last time.


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