Central Delaware
JW's to find new life as The Bullpen

DOVER — JW’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Dover’s Hamlet Shopping Center was one of Thomas Armstrong’s favorite hangout spots. He, along with many other patrons, were disappointed when it closed in July.

No one stepped up to lease the space so Mr. Armstrong took matters into his own hands.

In February, Mr. Armstrong started asking around if any of JW’s old customers would like to see the place reopened. After an extremely positive response on Facebook, he started the process of leasing the space in mid-March and was able to get the keys on April 10 in anticipation of reopening the venue as The Bullpen by early to mid-June.

“There aren’t any bars around here that have the same kind of atmosphere that JW’s did,” said Mr. Armstrong, who also owns Tom’s Flooring in Milford. “You can’t hang out with the same crowd anywhere else.”

Furniture and appliances were left behind in the space from JW’s so there aren’t too many expensive investments needed to reopen, he said.

“We will be able to do some renovations and improvements once we start bringing in revenue but now the focus is getting it opened,” Mr. Armstrong said.

He is in the process of obtaining a taproom license. According to the State of Delaware Alcohol Beverage Control, a taproom is described as, an establishment “operated primarily for the sale by the glass and for consumption on the premises of alcoholic liquors with the sale of food as a secondary object as distinguished from a restaurant where the sale of food is the primary object.”

It is also a requirement of a taproom that no one under 21 years of age be on the premises, including staff.

Mr. Armstrong plans to be strict with his staff and act in compliance with the law to avoid ABC fines and keep the bar a respectable establishment.

“The Bullpen will be a place where adults can go to watch sports, have drinks and enjoy the company of other adults,” he said.

He also plans on a weekly deep cleaning of the bar, which involves moving appliances to clean instead of just cleaning around them, as well as scrubbing floors and disinfecting all surfaces food and drinks will touch.

“A lot of bars don’t understand that just wiping off the counters and sweeping the floor isn’t enough to keep a place clean,” Mr. Armstrong said.

Mr. Armstrong plans on continuing JW’s tradition of having live bands on Fridays and Saturdays such as the local favorite Glass Onion.

The Bullpen will offer a limited menu consisting mostly of appetizers such as wings, fries and mozzarella sticks.

Mr. Armstrong said The Bullpen will carry the NTN trivia game that was a favorite at JW’s, especially during Happy Hour.

There will also still be a couple of pool tables and of course lots of televisions for watching sports.

Staff writer Ashton Brown can be reached at or 741-8272. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.