Like the box truck that's loaded with a 35mm projection rig and backed into the middle of Wexner Center Plaza, community partners are an essential part of the Wex Drive-In experience. Hai Poke will be back with fresh rice bowls for a second year and Seventh Son Brewing marks its fifth year of pouring cold brews for the Drive-In crowd. The relationship between the local microbrewery and the center has been a close one, as it began while cofounder Jen Burton was part of the Wex family (her husband, Mark Van Fleet, is the center's former Head Registrar). With Wex Drive-In season kicking off Thursday with Misery and big things afoot with Burton and her business partner Colin Castore, we gave Jen a call to catch up and see what's on tap for the days and weeks ahead.
How did the Seventh Son/Wexner Center partnership get started?
My husband shared an office with Megan Cavanaugh [currently Director of Exhibitions Management]. I had done an event there six years ago through The Barrel & Bottle [the North Market wine shop she co-owns with Castore] - a beer tasting with all blonde beers for Blondes Have More Fun.
What keeps you coming back for Drive-In?
I just think it’s awesome to have an open-air movie screening at such a cool location. All things Columbus are coming together to excite your senses. And the movie selections are always so good. I love Misery. Gimme Shelter was so cool to see in that setting.
What brews will be on tap this year?
The Scientist IPA and just some rotating seasonal beers. Lemongrass Wit Sketch may be the pick for Misery.
How are things going with the recently opened second floor at Seventh Son?
Oh, it’s awesome! It’s really packed. We’re going to start renting it out on Sundays only, starting June 17 with Scotty Niemet’s Daddy's Social Club—sweaty, shirtless, gay men dancing. It's an end-of-Pride dance party. Kinda like, "Sweat your hangover out."
And what's the word on your next bar project?
Antiques on High is going to open in early fall in the old Antiques on High building on South High, right next to the Tremont. We’re going to be doing some blending—sour beer and wild ales. It’s gonna be cool. It’s going to have a rooftop patio and be more cocktail-centric than Seventh Son. More wine, lots of booths, and sort of a 1960s-70s influence.
Image: Seventh Son bartender Bill Schwab serves the crowd at Wex Drive-In.