New business coming to downtown Seymour


A new business will be uncorked in downtown Seymour sometime in early winter.

Vat and Barrel hopes to welcome the public by the end of December or early January and will be located at 212 E. Second St.

Marc Gebhart and Tom Gray have partnered in creating the bar, which will feature craft beers, wines and spirits.

“It’s Indiana-themed. It’s going to be craft beers, craft wines, craft liquors,” Gebhart said. “They will all be Indiana-based products.”

The original idea for the business was a wine tasting room, but the plan has morphed over time.

“When I could only get a beer and wine license, my initial thoughts were to work as a tasting room and pick six or seven Indiana wineries and really represent their products,” Gebhart said. “I still think we will sell wine by the ounce. If someone likes dry reds, we will pour them five or six and let them pick out something they like and get a glass or bottle. We intend to keep quite a bit of wine. We are both wine guys.”

Gebhart estimated the bar will carry 30-plus wines.

Beer-wise, he said they’ve gotten in touch with Salt Creek, ZwanzigZ and Flat12 about carrying products. There will be 12 taps total with six rotating kegs.

Vat and Barrel also plans on selling a variety of locally crafted spirits and cocktails.

The idea to open the business came up one day while Gebhart and Gray were attending a wine festival together.

Longtime friends, Gebhart approached Gray about the potential of opening a bar in downtown Seymour.

In fewer than 10 minutes, Gray was all in on the endeavor.

“I’ve had this building for several years and wanted to do something with it,” Gebhart said. “Tom and I are buddies, and we go out to eat and go to wine festivals. I told him I had this idea for a bar, and he said, ‘Let’s do it.'”

The building is about 2,500 square feet and will utilize about 2,000 for the bar, Gebhart said.

An S-shaped bar will greet visitors, and there will be seating on the floor with a big linear fireplace against the wall. Gebhart said there will be leather couches, and the plan is to have an industrial-style atmosphere.

When the bar reaches completion inside, it will seat an estimated 55 to 60 people.

The bar won’t classify itself as a sports or biker bar but a place where people can meet and socialize.

“I kind of view it like Cheers,” Gray said. “We’re kind of a quiet setting with tables where you talk with each other. It won’t be a loud, noisy environment.”

The men said they wanted to open a bar that appealed to an older crowd.

Around eight people will be employed at the business.

“I’ve had quite a few people my age who are retired or housewives with husbands still working that want to work,” Gebhart said. “They’re looking at this as a way to stay in touch with their generation of people and maybe want to put in a night a week. If we can find friends and such that want to do it, that would be perfect.”

A full kitchen will be constructed in the back, but the men don’t plan on offering a full menu daily.

“Long term, I think it would be cool to do Friday and Saturday night dinner service but don’t have a menu,” Gebhart said. “We would have two or three specials on those nights, like oysters, filet mignon, pork chops or even bringing in a chef and having a sushi bar. We don’t want to be everything to everybody. We don’t want a five-page menu.”

To start, charcuterie boards, desserts and small plates will be offered for purchase.

While neither have owned a bar before, Gebhart and Gray have business experience.

“I’ve owned a couple businesses and worked for big and small companies,” Gebhart said. “I’ve had a little taste of a lot of things. As soon as I got the liquor license, I left what I was doing and started doing this full time.”

Gray owns T and T Body Shop.

“My whole life, all of my business has been automotive,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of owning a bar. I keep getting asked when I’m going to retire because I’m 65, but to me, retiring is getting up and enjoying what you do every day. While I still enjoy automotives, this has always been a dream of mine. I call this my retirement plan because it’s something I really enjoyed doing.”

Hours of operation haven’t been decided yet, but Gebhart said they were thinking about starting days in the mid-afternoon and closing around 11 p.m. or midnight. He said they don’t plan on opening Mondays and may also be closed Tuesdays but will be open for sure Wednesdays through Sundays.

While the store is months away from opening during the remodeling process, Gebhart said he has people ask him daily when they plan to open.

Vat and Barrel plans on starting with multiple soft openings before getting the word out to the public.

“My biggest fear is that the day we open, we’re going to have a line to the corner,” Gebhart said. “Some people would say that’s awesome. I don’t want to give anyone bad service. I want them all to be happy and give them a great experience. You only get one chance for a first impression.”

No posts to display