Are you looking for a great place to grab a drink in Southeast Alabama? In this episode of Homegrown, I’m going to take you on a tour of McLeod’s Publick House in Dothan, Alabama. We’ll talk with owner Paul McVay to learn all about the craft beers and amazing vibe of this veteran-owned business.
All About McCleod’s
Located in Dothan, McCleod’s Publick House is the second-largest draft house in all of South Alabama. Over the years, it’s been host to over 551 live local bands and has proudly served over 90,000 gallons of fresh beer in the past 10 years.
Paul McVay is the owner of McLeod's Publick House. He opened the bar in March 2012 and can’t believe that he’s approaching his 10th anniversary. McCleod’s started on the premise of being a craft beer bar, bringing craft brews to Dothan that’s on draft, not in bottles. They started with 4 beers on draft, then moved to 8, 10, and then 20. They outgrew what Paul called “The Little McCleod’s” and are now at their current, bigger location with 56 beers on draft.
Paul can still remember all the distributors telling me it would never work, and that no one would ever drink craft beer. Almost 10 years later, McCleod’s has proved them wrong. With nearly 90,000 gallons of craft beer sold, they’ve had plenty of business along with tons of great music.
Music is part of the McCleod’s experience, with live artists booked every Friday night. Since their opening, the 551 bands that have graced the stage include acts from Kansas City, New York, Chicago, Miami, London, and even Perth, Australia
A Thriving Small Business
As a locally owned Dothan business, many things set McCleod’s apart from others in the area. For one, the diversity of their music is a huge draw. They also have a great selection of beer that is unrivaled in the Wiregrass area. Friendly service and their delicious bar fare menu are other hallmarks of this thriving draft house. One of Paul’s personal favorites is the Sliders with Swiss cheese. They’re delicious and prepared fresh, all crafted by his wife. The Chicken Flatbread is another dish that you don’t want to miss.
As a grassroots small business, McCleod’s serves the community of Dothan with no franchises and no corporate office. Paul got into a debate with his wife a long time ago—specifically about his idea to open a bar. However, there are a lot of things about owning the bar that includes morals and ethics. McCleod’s is proud to have a lot of safety programs in place. For example, in their 9.5 years of operation, they’ve only had one DUI come out of McLeod's.
They take really good care of their customers, and never want their draft house to be a place to come and make bad life decisions. Rather, McCleod’s is a place to come and socialize with friends and family or go on a date. Paul has had five people that met at McCleod’s get married, living up to its “Publick House” name. It’s a place for the public to enjoy a draft beer in a non-smoking, clean atmosphere. As a veteran, Paul thinks his penchant for cleanliness is his military background coming out. It makes for an enjoyable atmosphere for all patrons to relax.
With the pandemic, it's been a tough year on local businesses—especially local small businesses like McCleod’s. It's been a long 14 months, but Paul is glad they survived it with the help of their customers and regulars. They want to continue to provide good music, good food, and a good selection of beer and liquors. They’re excited to see what happens next.
Come Visit McCleod’s
So if you want to have a good time, enjoy some good drinks, have some great food, and fellowship with friends and family, McCleod’s Publick House is the place you need to go. It’s right here in Dothan, Alabama, near the corner of Highway 84 and West Main Street. It's just one of the fine small businesses that our area has to offer.
If you have any more questions about the area, are interested in living here, or just have questions about real estate in general, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to help. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Homegrown, my show that showcases everything there is to do living in the Wiregrass area of Southeast Alabama and Southwest Georgia. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!