From the large, hanging chandelier made of recycled beer bottles to the decor and warm lighting along the hallway leading to the outdoor patio in the back, South Bay natives Dan Phan and Johnny Wang have worked diligently in setting up a beer bar that is welcoming and comfortable.

Original Gravity Public House, set to open later this month, offers 25 rotating taps of carefully selected craft beer with a wide variety of styles and price points in an unpretentious environment. “From the novice craft beer drinker to the most hardcore beer enthusiast, we have something on tap for you,” says Phan. For the hardcore fans, expect to see Dogfish Head’s 120-minute IPA on tap. There will also be 20–25 bottled beers, including selections from Avery and Great Divide brewing companies.

Original Gravity not only features a stellar lineup of beer but food as well. Phan and Wang have recently amped up their efforts to perfect the menu, organizing tastings with friends and family to dial in the food. The main focus will be 20 different sausages from mainly local providers, grilled-cheese sandwiches and duck-fat fries to be enjoyed inside, in the dog-friendly back patio or on the South First Street sidewalk.

Phan and Wang had originally hoped to open a beer bar in Orange County, but when things did not work out, they turned their attention back home. They were convinced that San Jose was ready to support an establishment that focused primarily on quality beers on tap.

Beer fans will note its proximity to Good Karma Vegan Cafe and Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant. Add to the mix several other establishments already offering solid craft beer options in the area, as well as other beer-centric places set to open later this year, and you’ll notice that downtown San Jose is quickly becoming a respectable beer hub. It’s a welcome development for Phan and Wang, beer fans who appreciate the finer aspects of beer.

As a home brewer with a background in biochemistry, Phan takes beer appreciation to a different level. “I’m partial to the science of beer,” he says, which helps explain the name Original Gravity.

Phan says, “Some fellow beer geeks coined this term while enjoying some home brews. Original gravity is a measurement of the liquid wort [a water mixture that is infused with malt sugars that is fermented to make beer] that is used in an equation to calculate the alcoholic beverage volume after the brewing process is complete.”

In talking with Phan and Wang, one gets the sense that you’re talking to two smart guys who are likeable and down-to-earth. They’ve appreciated the challenges of navigating all the city and state departments involved in opening a restaurant business, especially for the first time, and they chalk it up as great learning experiences.

More importantly, one can see and hear their excitement for the opportunity to bring their customers unique, hard-to-find beers from outside the Bay Area as well as showcase local, Bay Area beers. They also can’t wait to offer unusual food items like Korean kalbi sausages from Los Angeles and host special food and beer pairing events.

Original Gravity Public House
66 S. First St., San Jose