SENNETT — A combination convenience store, restaurant and smokers shop in Sennett is debuting a new business avenue: a self-serve pub.

Munchies, a convenience store with a Smokers Choice shop, opened the pub Friday, and a beer tasting will be held Saturday. The store itself opened in July.

The Sennett location will be the first store in the Munchies chain to have a pub where customers can pour the brew themselves, the first of its kind in the area. Identification will be checked at the door to ensure patrons are of legal drinking age. Customers will be given an electronic card pre-loaded with their chosen dollar amount, like a gift card.

Displays for each beer on tap will have a description of the brew. Putting the card in the beer's slot will allow customers to see the price per ounce. Putting the card in the slot will unlock the tap, with a noticeable unlocking sound. Dwayne Phillips, vice president of operations for Smokers Choice, said the price ranges from 14 cents per ounce to 48 cents per ounce, depending on the beer. 

Patrons can pour up to 32 ounces within the span of an hour, as a measure to help people drink responsibility. Employees will be circulating in the pub — which includes a menu and features several televisions — to help customers and to verify customer ages.

Beers on tap early Friday afternoon ranged from standards like Coors Light to "higher-end" crafts like the Ithaca Flower Power IPA from the Ithaca Beer Company, Phillips said. Drinks from other local breweries like Young Lion Brewing Company in Canandaigua are featured, as well.

Phillips said he was "excited and a little stressed out" about the pub's launch, as the soft opening Friday was meant to help work out any kinks in operations. He said many customers have had the same excited "Wait, what?" reactions to hearing about the tap room.

Jimmy Corella, director of operations for the Smokers Choice northwestern territories, said the pub was planned for the Sennett store from the beginning.

The pub was the brainchild of Smokers Choice Owner and Vice President Doug Nolan, Phillips said. Phillips said part of Nolan's vision was to "have a business that really caters and offers something to everyone." On top of the pub addition, the store and restaurant features the inventory of a convenience store plus cigars and cigarettes, restaurant food, ice cream and a salad bar.

Christina Davis, who came in to check out the area, said she was impressed by the "inviting and cozy" atmosphere.

"I love the fact that you can serve yourself, that's really cool," Davis said.

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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Education Reporter