Canton-Based Royal Docks Brewing to Open Taproom in Ohio City

Tied House + Kitchen will take over the former North High Brewing space

click to enlarge The future home of Royal Docks - Scene Archives
Scene Archives
The future home of Royal Docks
North High Brewing closed its Ohio City location at COhatch this past fall after two years, but the space will soon have a new beer-focused tenant. Canton-based Royal Docks Brewing has announced plans to open a taproom there come spring. Dubbed Tied House + Kitchen, this will be the brewery's fourth location overall and first in Cuyahoga County.

Partners John Bikis and brewer Dave Sutula launched the company in Stark County nearly 10 years ago. They’ve since grown from that 7.5-barrel brewpub to running a production facility with 10- and 30-barrel systems. Royal Docks follows the classic “tied house” model, with a central production facility feeding a growing number of taprooms in both urban and near-rural communities.

“The idea is to be centered around people coming in and staying a while rather than turning tables,” explains Sutula. “I want people to go there and hang out. I want to be a community hub.”

Even with three bustling Stark County locations, Sutula says that he and his partner have long had their eyes on Cleveland, specifically Ohio City.

“I’ve always been partial to Ohio City,” Sutula says. “My first gig was as a volunteer at Great Lakes in the early 1990s. It’s cool to be in a historical hub as far as the craft brewing thing goes. It’s not a craft-beer hub by design; it sort of grew that way because it has the right demographics: it’s walkable and the people enjoy a quality product.”

Sutula describes the former North High space as essentially turn-key, requiring little more than cosmetic touches to make it their own.

“Our DNA has always been: what would it look like if a brewery in London put in a pub,” he explains, adding that the signature look includes elements such as white subway tile, high ceilings painted black, concrete floors, exposed brick, reclaimed wood, and some corrugate metal.

The Cleveland taproom has 16 taps, most of which will be allocated for Royal Docks beers. A full bar will also offer wine and cocktails. A 1-barrel system will be installed and Sutula plans to do some onsite barrel aging. A food menu will offer staples like wings, salads and flatbreads.

Sutula estimates a final occupancy inside at around 90 guests, with more out back on the south-facing patio.

The doors will open as soon as the ink dries on state and federal licenses, he adds, estimated to take about two months.

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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