Report by Paula Antolini, May 21, 2019, 7:02PM EDT
The Bethel Advocate visited the new “Proof. Bar & Cafe.” that recently opened at 1 Front Street in Bethel (across from old train station) and we were delightfully surprised at the renovated interior (of what used to be “The Spot”) that is now bright and tastefully designed, and the creative menu is excellent.
“Proof. is a bar and café specializing in gourmet pretzels and a full menu focused around inventive baked goods, also featuring an expansive craft beer and unique drink selection. A place to hang out all day, grab a drink, do some work, solve life’s mysteries… A place for anyone and everyone,” their website reads. Their aim is, “To provide a comfortable place to bring people together under one roof to enjoy pretzels, beer, and cocktails.”
Welcoming sofas and wing-back chairs round out the more intimate room next to the beautiful new bar. The second room has a spectacular raised antique-looking pressed tin ceiling with skylights, white-washed brick walls and more light pours in through the surrounding windows with a great view of the bustling Greenwood Avenue day and night.
We spoke to owners John Schauster and his wife Sam Lupacchino. Newlyweds for one year, it is their first venture together in a business, but John has owned several bars before, he said. “We met drinking craft beer and eating pretzels so basically we wanted to take that concept and bring it to Bethel, Connecticut. I mean it’s a great location, the town is wonderful, the people are wonderful,” Schauster said.
Schauster thinks the business is different that other bars and restaurants in the area and said, “I guess what sets us apart is the pretzel thing. Pretty much everything on the menu is made in-house, even our ketchup.” He also stated, “I don’t really like to consider us as competition, I want to say that we bring something to this town so that Bethel can improve upon itself, just bring more people, attract more people to the downtown, so everybody can thrive.”
Five flavors of huge New-York-style freshly made, warmed pretzels and twelve dips top the menu. There is an assortment of “starters” such as Knot-chos (house pretzel chips loaded with cheese, pico, black beans, jalepenos and sour cream with options for chicken, steak or short ribs, and six other choices. There are sandwiches, burgers, salads and more, such as the “slammin salmon burger” which contains a handmade salmon patty, thick cut bacon, pickled Asian cabbage, cilantro lime sauce on a brioche bun. View regular menu here. View Happy Hour menu here. View “Dark Lunch” menu here. View sample beer menu here. View cocktails menu here.
We tasted the huge homemade warmed “salted pretzel” with “beer cheese dip” and the “Black Hog SWAG Beer” (Pale Wheat Ale, American from Oxford CT) … all very good.
“In the future we will offer gluten-free and vegan options,” Schauster said, “We’re trying to create a kind of comfortable atmosphere for any walk of life.” They also have plans for a children’s menu. “Eventually we’re going to start opening for lunch, a weekend lunch,” he said.
Right now “Proof.” is open at 4PM to 12AM on Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, and 4PM to 1AM on Friday and Saturday, closed Mondays. “Proof.” offers an assortment of food (includes “Dark Lunch” Fri., Sat., 10PM to Midnight), craft beers and cocktails (Happy Hour Tues-Fri, 4-7PM).
View video of John Schauster and Sam Lupacchino below, recorded on May 21, 2019:
PROOF. BAR & CAFE.
1 Front Strret
Bethel, CT 06801