By: Natalya Jones Contributing Writer
Tucked adjacent past the prim and proper setup of Atlantic Ave. is a plain white building. No overfilled parking garages, or boutiques filled with overpriced skimpy pastel clothing accompany it. There is, however, an old fashioned 7-Up advertisement in the window along with a sign for fresh produce. Surrounding is a black, chain link fence with a sign that reads, among other verbiage, “This is not a cult”. Simple. Weird. The antithesis of typical Delray.
Enter owner Challo Schott and his newest concept The O.G. No, this acronym is not synonymous with the term “original gansta,” but instead stands for Oceanside Grocers. And funny enough, the funky bar-disguised-as-an-old-school-grocer embodies every inch of original gangstaness.
Take, for instance, the way cocktails are served. There are Bloody Mary’s fashioned as Campbell’s Tomato Soup, wine in a can and bottled Old Fashioneds. Popcorn and Ringpops are given away at the bar. Frequenters can even pick up a few grocery items from the fully stocked shelves after imbibing.
Put simply: if an organic grocery store and Fort Lauderdale’s Rhythm and Vine had a baby, it would be The O.G.
Ironically enough, Schott, who also opened up Radio Bar and Better Days in Miami, explains his distinctive cocktail concept is almost unambiguous.
“I’ve always had a simple recipe for successful cocktails; something strong, something sweet, and something unique,” he explained. “My barometer for success isn’t whether we persuade a guest from choosing what they would have normally, or wow’ing them with tinctures and modifiers and trickery, but it’s whether we produce an excellent cocktail which they not only enjoy, but order again, and perhaps again. I pride myself on not following the norm, but I’m hyper-aware of national trends and I always want to forge a path and be at the forefront of anything and everything that’s ‘fun’ in our industry.”
Schott brought his brainchild to his hometown Delray instead of Miami because of two notions.
“What could I achieve if access to the business was simple and access to resources was easier? What could I build and achieve if I removed the complexities of travel and time and parking and transport that the city creates?” he said. “The other thought that taunted me was what my own town would think of what I do, how would it be received. Could I build and plot and plan and offer up a new venture as a gift to my own community?”
The concept is certainly a different feel, with retro fridges, thrift store-esque couches, and wall decorations that can be described as “groovy”.
The aforementioned popcorn adds to the homey touch.
“Offering something by hand, as a gift, along with a greeting is a very personal approach to business. You’ll often hear feedback from my various bars that comes in some verbalized form of ‘it feels like home’ and while popcorn isn’t the only way I make that connection possible, it’s definitely part of it,” said Schott. “I guess though it has a personalized connection to me as well, popcorn was a nightly ritual in my home growing up, a time after dinner for conversation and bonding which has remained within me in some particular way that it manifested itself in this new evening bar ritual.”
The O.G. also offers a newly debuted happy hour, available all week from 5-8 p.m. with half-off all drinks. And yes, you can still buy grocery items from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily.
Said Schott, “I may die run down and charred to a crisp, but until then I have no intention of pausing for a moment and firmly believe I’m the next generation of nightlife in South Florida, an OG in the making.” Amen, brother.
The O.G. is located at 166 SE 2nd Ave. in Delray Beach. Visit ogdelray.com.