Don't be a Stranger to Strangefellows
Strangefellows Pub brings friends together in Downtown Rutland
If you’re looking for Rutland’s sense of community, you’ll find it at Strangefellows Pub. Located at 13 Evelyn Street in Downtown Rutland, Joe Sharps opened Strangefellows four and a half years ago with the goal of creating a reasonable place for locals to visit. He envisioned the kind of establishment that people could afford to frequent on a regular basis to meet up with friends.
“We were one of the first nicer venues that offered both food and drinks at a lower price,” Sharps reflects, while preparing a batch of wasabi wings in the pub’s kitchen. “And we have yet to offer a beer that exceeds eight dollars.”
Today, you’ll find Strangefellows bustling with running groups, book clubs, gamers, lawyers and young professionals, to name just a few of the diverse segments of the community that frequent Sharp’s friendly pub. He notes that this isn’t the kind of place where anyone bothers you, rather, it’s a place to meet up with friends and gather around one of the pub’s eclectic board games. It’s the combination of Sharp’s welcoming hospitality and fair prices that attribute to the success of the business.
These days, Sharps is working on bringing the physical space into the future. The building, which includes Black Moon Games next door and apartments on the upper floor, has had plenty of uses over the years. It was once a shop for Model T automobiles and where funeral caskets were built for easy transport onto the railroad. For a number of years the building was home to various iterations of bars that included shuffleboard courts in the 1970s and 80s, and at one point in time, was even home to a Phish concert. Sharps says that everyone has a story about the place.
His current efforts are focused on maximizing the pub’s energy efficiency to help keep costs down. At the same time, Sharps wants to continue to meet the needs of his customers, especially as the competition increases with other businesses growing and opening within the area.
Thanks in part to a grant from the Downtown Rutland Partnership, Strangefellows was able to replace old coolers and add in new beer taps, boosting the number of beers they now offer on tap up to ten. While in the kitchen, walls were replaced and out on the back porch, screens now provide additional privacy and shade from the sun.
Reflecting on why he continues to enjoy owning a business in downtown Rutland, Sharps says, “It’s a lot of fun to be here. It may not have everything for twenty somethings, but for people in their thirties and forties, it has what they want.”
In addition to the growing beverage selection, Strangefellows continues to offer a pub menu that includes wraps, salads, appetizers and snacks. Daily specials feature everything from pork street tacos to brats topped with mac and cheese, as well as specialty cocktails. Recently, Sharps shared his kitchen for Thai Takeover Sundays with local chef, Dao Toner. The next takeover is happening this Sunday from 11am – 2:30pm and Thai iced tea, curry golden bags and moo deng are on the menu.