Bear Market, Bull Market and Now: Beer Market

Queen City Exchange is Cincinnati's first and only stock exchange-themed bar, featuring 41 beers on tap with prices that rise and fall depending on demand.

click to enlarge Queen City Exchange’s beer prices fluctuate based on demand. - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Queen City Exchange’s beer prices fluctuate based on demand.
Like many brothers and groups of close friends, Patrick Daffin and his brother Nick talked of one day opening a bar. However, their conversation that started two years ago became reality when Queen City Exchange opened its doors just four weeks ago.

Queen City Exchange is Cincinnati’s first and only stock exchange-themed bar. With 41 beers on tap, the prices rise and fall depending on demand. The beers are grouped into five or six different categories and the cost of whatever sells best in a set time period will rise. 

The price of the beers that aren’t selling will drop, which means that throughout the course of the night, beer prices will fluctuate.

Prices average around $4.50 to $7, with some beers potentially dropping to as low as $3.50 and some reaching as high as $9. Then, in thematic fashion, the beer market will periodically crash. When it crashes, all beers drop a third of their price, down to each of their minimums. The market remains crashed for roughly three to four minutes, so during that time patrons are advised to buy, buy, buy.

 “The stock market was the thing that made us talk about it more, made us get more serious about the bar,” says Patrick, co-owner and full-time bar manager.

The theme was the catalyst for making their bar dreams a reality. While Patrick had only heard about this concept, his brother Nick and the bar’s other two partners, Nick Broerman and Adam Stowe, had each experienced the concept firsthand, specifically in Kalamazoo, Mich. and abroad in Europe. They knew they needed and wanted to bring this to Cincinnati. 

As the beer market advisor, Patrick says that Rhinegeist brews seem to do the best at the exchange — they are consistently the top four out of six. “As for all the rest of them, it is amazing the difference in a day,” he says. “The beers that are on top one day will be at the bottom the very next, it just really depends.”

It was the Daffin brothers’ father who acquired the building on Court Street where their space is located. Both brothers do property management for him, but it was the acquisition of this historic building that ultimately allowed them to bring their concept to fruition. 

“The building is a historic building, with the integrity of the city,” Patrick says. “We have such an awesome building fabric in Cincinnati, and to bring another building back online and preserve its character is something we wanted to do.” 

To honor that, they tried to restore the building as much as possible. For example, the lift in the back is still operational and three archways were salvaged and kept open.

Furthermore, in the back of the space, there is a large mural painted by local artist Kevin O’Neil, which ties in many Cincinnati elements: beer, history and landmarks.

The space is also flush with big-screen TVs — 19 in all — plus a projector. Market beer prices are viewable on a screen behind the bar, and you’ll frequently find sports on the rest of the screens “without the stereotypical sports bar aesthetic,” Patrick says.

Queen City Exchange attempts to find a sweet spot that offers a “fine middle ground.” 

“Cincinnati has a lot of nice bars, cocktail lounges, eclectic and raw neighborhood bars,” Patrick says. “We wanted to provide a clean and welcoming space, a space where both Kroger employees could meet for happy hour, as well as the late-night crowd that may or may not be intimidated by a more high-end place. We want to be somewhere between a neighborhood sports bar and a high-end downtown bar.”

While Queen City Exchange does not currently offer food, they do want to provide food to their patrons — they try and schedule a food truck to park outside every Friday and Saturday night. 

They are also in talks with their adjacent neighbor, who will soon be opening a restaurant, about the possibility of having a food window created for their patrons and are speaking to other establishments already open on Court Street about potentially staying open later to accommodate their late-night crowd. The bar is open until 2 a.m. daily.

QUEEN CITY EXCHANGE is located at 32 W. Court St., Downtown. More info: queencityexchange.com. 

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