It’s nearing the fourth of July and a storm has just rolled through Columbus, taking century-old trees, massive electric poles and almost everyone’s power in the city for almost a week. But around the corner, the Average Joe’s Pub lights are on and letting everyone know that the beer is flowing and the air-conditioning is churning for all without power. This oasis makes it easy to see why part owner Paul Rockwell is beloved by the regulars.
“As soon as I knew it was out, I did whatever I could to find a generator,” says Rockwell. “All these people, my customers, they are out there with no power and I’m giving them a place where they can come in and relax for a bit and get out of the heat.”
Rockwell got out of the engineering business when his friends approached him with the idea of opening a bar with a great concept that could work in Columbus, and he jumped at it. The first location opened at Polaris with the Average Joe’s moniker attached to it. Rockwell had the vision of being a neighborhood bar that everyone could come to, one that would also give back to the community.
“We know that it’s important to be a part of the community,” says Rockwell. “We’ve raised thousands of dollars with the help of our customers for a lot of great causes; it just seems like the right thing to do.”
Since the initial Polaris opening, Rockwell has opened up locations in New Albany and Hilliard; the Joe’s Original in Dublin is no longer affiliated with Average Joe’s. The recipe of their events, dedication to customers and a menu featuring wings that recently won the best hot wing at Budweiser’s 2012 Wing Zing competition. Rockwell has been sharing a larger version of his own personal man cave with neighborhoods across the city, with plans on reaching out even farther.
“We have plans to expand into any neighborhood that our bar can work in,” says Rockwell. “We’d expand outside the city or outside the state; the sky’s the limit to what we can do in the future.”