Tony Blei
The man behind (or rather, in front of) The Roosevelt: Matt Pool

Cheers to this news

Good things are happening.

Last night I met up with a bunch of friends at the brand-spanking-new downtown tavern, The Roosevelt, and we were all in awe.

"This is perfect," murmured one.

"Oh god, First Fridays here are going to be mobbed!" said another.

We all agreed that Matt Pool's new hangout is exactly what downtown needs — hell, what we need -- and that it's gonna take off like wildfire any second now. The space is a beautifully restored historic building, with high ceilings and huge windows and lots of nooks for socializing. For its second night in business, it already had a decent word-of-mouth draw, with a lot of artists from the surrounding neighborhood raving about how they could walk to The Roosevelt from their nearby homes. We couldn't help but joke about our impending nostalgia for the one night we managed to snag seats there.

Matt, of course, beamed like a proud parent. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, and people coming in the front door immediately gravitated to the sleek, dark wood bar, where Matt manned the taps for a dozen different draft beers. It only seemed appropriate to order "The Roosevelt House Beer," which was totally delicious, a frothy pint of hoppy pale ale so cold it actually had some icy bits floating on top. Turns out, it's a custom brew made by Four Peaks especially for Matt. How cool is that?

Ah, he deserves it. Have you heard about all the stuff Matt went through to open that place? He's like the poster-dude for all the cool people trying to open businesses downtown and having a heck of a time making it happen, for a number of reasons. (I wrote about it in a feature story last month; check out "Matt's Big Hassle" in our archive if you don't know what I'm talking about.) His other business is the popular breakfast joint Matt's Big Breakfast.

The full menu isn't available yet — just a selection of sandwiches, a shrimp cocktail, and the hot and salty Virginia peanuts for now. (Soon it'll include a hot pretzel, a cheese plate, ham and eggs, and kettle chips with dips, among other things.) I got to try The Norcino, a grilled Italian panini with prosciutto, sopressata, mortadella, aged provolone, and marinated peppers. It was super meaty and so filling — you could almost share one. I ate all of mine, though, because how else was I going to soak up a few pints? I also got a couple bites of The Honeymooner, a delicious bologna and cheddar sandwich that had that same buttery grilled crust as the reuben at Matt's Big Breakfast. If you're into reubens, theirs is the best one around.

Anyway, now that I've gotten you hungry and thirsty, you're antsy to know where The Roosevelt is. It's at 816 N. 3rd St., between Garfield and McKinley, on the west side of the street. (3rd St. is a southbound one-way there, FYI.) Tonight, tomorrow, and New Year's Eve, it'll be open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; once regular hours kick in, it'll be open from 5 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and Sundays, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and closed on Mondays.

See you at the bar!

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