How many of us remember that special friend we had when we were growing up? Wouldn’t it be great to have the opportunity to meet back up and join forces later in life? This is exactly what happened to a pair of kids who grew up in the middle of the Heartland. After going their own ways in life, these two Topeka boys reunited to bring a new kind of self-serve banking to their hometown. The changing liquor law in Kansas opened an avenue for Ryan Cavanaugh and Dusty Snethen to breathe life into Brew Bank, a concept bar that offers guests a one-of-a-kind experience.

Seeing the characters from the Wizard of Oz reminded us we were still in Kansas.

No Place Like Home

It’s hard to miss the nod that Brew bank gives to the state of Kansas. Playing off of the familiar themes that our home state is known for, we found plenty of references throughout the space. The majority of one wall is lined with iconic characters from The Wizard of Oz. It was a nice surprise, and so timely since we had recently visited the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. The dining area at Brew bank is an open, airy space with a nod toward modern. We enjoyed their use of color, as it added a touch of whimsy to the overall upscale vibe.

The murals on the walls are tied to Kansas characters and events.

All Things Kansas

Our choice for lunch at Brew Bank put us in close proximity to our main event. As we looked around their space, we noticed that they paid homage to Evel Knievel, which is what had brought us to Topeka that day. Of course, there were plenty of other easily recognizable images on the walls. Most were native Kansans who have risen to stardom, while there were also nods given to iconic moments that tie to our home state.

A row of taps allows customers to sample the beers by doing some self-serve banking.

Self-Serve Banking

The star of the show, at Brew Bank, is the self-serve banking of beers that every customer can experience. The process is fairly straightforward. You can purchase a prepaid card that allows a specific amount of ounces to be dispensed at the various beer taps. Once you swipe your card, you release the golden elixir of your choice. Brew Bank keeps a couple of dozen choices on tap, so there is sure to be a few that you will want to sample. For those not in the mood for a lager-based product, they also have a full bar. On the far end of the dining room, we spotted a housemade root beer dispenser. Our server informed us that it is also a self-serve dispenser, and the taste was fantastic.

The Brew Boards are an assortment of charcuterie boards that feature a nice variety of tastes.

Brew Boards

The menu at Brew bank includes a nice variety of options. While it was only the two of us, we wanted to sample a couple of their most popular choices. At home, we enjoy making our own charcuterie boards. We find it a great way to mix together a bunch of our favorite finger foods. When we discovered they have several to choose from at Brew bank, we knew it was the perfect appetizer. We decided on the European Brew Board, which features a cranberry-encrusted goat cheese ball. Crackers and Crostini chips make a good base for dipping. A variety of meats, cheeses, veggies, and olives help round out the board. It was like an indoor picnic and we gobbled it up with zest.

The Brew Bread is the Brew bank's version of a flatbread pizza, but with international flair.

Brew Bread

When it comes to dining, you won’t have to rely on self-serve banking. The staff was efficient and our food was delivered with a keen eye on presentation. For the main course, we decided to try the Asian Brew Bread. We have noticed that more restaurants have added flatbreads to their menus, and it makes a great finger food. This version is served up with international flair. The standard bread base is covered with a delightful Thai peanut sauce. The toppings on this dish include Mozzarella, sliced duck, pickled ginger, black sesame seeds, and green onions. A drizzle of hot chili cream adds a pop of color and a splash of flavor. This one had us coming back for more.

The authors reflect on their self-serve banking that they experienced at Brew bank.

Innovation Intrigue

Our visit to Brew Bank ended up being a delightful diversion from the standard fare at many restaurants. Having the self-serve banking of draught beers was definitely unique, as well as their on-tap root beer. The variety of finger foods made their menu adventurous with an international flair. We look forward to visiting again on future excursions to the capital city. We expect that this home-grown eatery will have ongoing success. Isn’t this a novel business plan?

the authors signatures.

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