Whiskey bar

Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye opens whiskey tasting room in Bristol

Herman Mihalich comes from a family that has enjoyed whiskey for a long time.

During the Prohibition era, Mihalich’s grandfather quit his steel mill job to open a speakeasy in Pittsburgh. In the 1930s it became a legally operated tavern by his grandfather and then his father, where they served rye whiskey in the 1970s when it finally closed.

“Both my dad and grandpa were rye guys from Pennsylvania,” Mihalich said. “It was kind of something that was in my past.”

Mihalich has since retained a piece of the original bar that was in his family’s original tavern.

Decades later, a family tradition continues, as patrons will once again sit at this same bar, now housed indoorse Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye’s Tasting room in Bristol Borough which opened on Thursday.

Founded by Mihalich and John Cooper, Dad’s Hat has operated its distillery on Canal Street in Bristol since 2011, where tours and tastings are offered.

The expansion of their business to a second location on Mill Street, about a mile from the distillery, came from a desire to reach more customers and showcase their whiskeys, served straight or in craft cocktails.

“Having the place in Mill Street with all the activity going on there is a great way to introduce ourselves and our brand to new people,” Mihalich said. “Being a place where we are more visible and where we can introduce our brand to more people is a great opportunity.”

Dad's Hat is hosting its soft opening on Mill Street in Bristol on Wednesday 11th May 2022.

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The tasting room was designed with a speakeasy in mind, where people can stop in, order a drink and learn more about whisky, Mihalich explained.

“We want it to be very comfortable,” he said. “It’s not a sports bar, it’s a place to relax and sip a cocktail.”

The Mill Street Tasting Room team will be led by Len Boris, a recent addition to the Dad’s Hat team who brings with him 14 years of hospitality experience, the last 8 years as Director of drinks for Fearless Restaurants.

“He knows cocktails well and he’s been very creative with our whiskeys,” said Mihalich, who said new cocktails will be offered seasonally alongside classics, such as a Manhattan, Old Fashioned or Boulevardier.

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Owners John Cooper, left, and Herman Mihalich pose for a portrait outside Dad's Hat on Mill Street in Bristol during its soft opening on Wednesday May 11, 2022.

“It’s an exciting time to join the Dad’s Hat team. Our tasting room will be a welcoming place for whiskey lovers and newcomers alike to experience fun and mouth-watering cocktails,” said Boris.

Tours will continue at the distillery at 925 Canal St., Building 4, Door 16, Bristol. The cost is $10 per person and visitors can register online at dadshatrye.com.

The new tasting room is at 131 Mill St. in Bristol.

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