Brian Hoy and Matt Maynard go to church every day, though not for sermons, prayer or daily service. 

They head to West Church Social, the pair’s latest business venture and entertainment space meant to bring together Licking County residents over arcade games, live music, food and drink. 

“We grew up in the area,” Maynard said. “It’s our hometown… We had driven by [this space] many times – Brian, visiting his grandfather; me, visiting my dad and my sister who are in the area. We looked over and we were like, ‘man, that looks like a really great place.’” 

Since its grand opening in mid-December 2023, the space has quickly become a new community hub in Newark. Its various functions as an arcade, sports bar, and live music venue make it broadly appealing to Licking County residents. For Valentine’s weekend, the bar hosted a speed dating event for singles and had Newark local DJ Ace play into the evening. 

Patrons at West Church Social can play games like Skee ball. Credit: Torria Catrone

“We wanted to make a really special community-driven location so that people could come, feel safe, play games, watch sporting events, relax, have some beer, watch some live music,” Maynard said. “Everything about it is community driven.” 

Before Maynard and Hoy acquired the property in late 2022, they had originally planned on only occupying half of the available space. Today, they occupy just under 10,000 square feet across two units: 1650 West Church Street and 1515 Granville Road. Construction for the project began in March 2023. 

“We really just gutted it and kind of rebuilt everything from scratch,” Maynard said. The project was completed in collaboration with his brother’s company, Maynard Construction, based in Hebron. 

Most recently, the units had been an Arensberg Pharmacy and an antique mall. One of the only remaining Arensberg artifacts is a repurposed sign from the pharmacy’s storefront that now hangs over the stage, colors dancing to the beat. A couple of back offices preserved from demolition are relics of the grocery store that occupied the space in the 1960s. 

Connecting Newark’s past and present

Maynard said that patrons often have memories to share about what the space used to be. 

While working to bring the building into 2024, Maynard and Hoy are simultaneously trying to root the place firmly in the history of Newark. 

Soon to come is The Everett, a speakeasy private event space in the back half of West Church Social. They hope to have it operating by spring 2024. The name is an homage to 20th century Newark business titan Edward Everett, affectionately dubbed the “bottle king.” 

“At one time, believe this or not, 80% of all bottles in America were produced right here in Newark, Ohio,” Maynard said. 

They came from Everett’s factory, located on the site of the modern-day Owens Corning campus. In addition to glass bottle production, Everett invested in cattle, real-estate, apple orchards, and the Anheuser-Busch company. He owned natural gas wells across Licking and Knox counties, and was known for his philanthropic contributions back to the community. The speakeasy is intended to celebrate Everett and his legacy in Licking County. 

Maynard is working to source vintage bottles from Everett’s factory to use as a display in the speakeasy. He’s combed Facebook Marketplace for unique finds, and is collaborating with folks at Owens Corning to complete the collection. He hopes that it will add an interesting educational element to the space, immersing guests in Newark’s history while they sip on their drink of choice. 

Bringing their ventures home

This isn’t Hoy and Maynard’s first joint venture, but it’s the first one of this size. Before they got into business, the two were kids together in Licking County. 

“We grew up playing baseball against each other. Highschool rivals, summertime teammates,” Maynard said. In 2003, the two reunited to enter into business together. 

For 17 years, they have run the Red Rock Pub in Blacklick. They built out the space from scratch. Later, they opened the Happy Endings Pub in Pickerington. The business was recently sold to new ownership, but Hoy and Maynard still remember converting the space from a Chinese restaurant to their very own bar. For their most recent venture, the pair chose Newark to capitalize on the arrival of Intel – and to honor their hometown. 

“We both feel that there’ll be a lot of economic opportunity coming to Ohio, especially to Newark,” Hoy said. “Newark already has a lot of the things that people coming in are going to be looking for.”

He stressed how easy it’s been to work with the city and Licking County over the course of this project. “I think they’re really embracing business and their commerce,” Hoy added. 

Inside West Church

When you walk in through the front door, the first thing that you’ll see is the large square bar that dominates the space. On either side there are low top and high top tables, with pool tables off into the corner. To the back of the space is the arcade zone, full of bright and colorful claw machines and skee ball. Various signs in custom font and colors that match the interior design, all the work of Granville native Dave Butler, adorn the walls. The biggest of all is a mural of two hands shaking framed by the words “Everybody relax.” 

“Our primary logo is a handshake,” said Maynard. “Everyone is welcome here. We don’t care where you’re from, what your income level is, nothing like that – come in and have fun at West Church… ‘Everybody relax,’ right? Just like it says on the wall.” 

Hoy and Maynard are fixtures of the space, often found zipping around the bar, iPad in hand to control the many screens around the room. And when they’re around, they are often troubleshooting and problem-solving, fixing arcade machines and managing the tech. 

“This entire adventure is a troubleshoot,” Hoy said. 

Maynard and Hoy collaborated with Shaffer Entertainment in Columbus to offer the games. Shaffer helps to manage and service the machines, and the two businesses share in the arcade revenue. All of the games are cashless, and a kiosk in the corner of the bar is available to reload game cards with credits to play at the pool tables or arcade. Their most popular events, though, are those featuring live music. 

“There’s not another venue quite like ours in town,” Hoy said. 

West Church Social has already hosted holiday parties for other local businesses, rented out space for a Denison University sorority formal, and featured local artists on their stage. 

Hoy and Maynard are excited about the ways that Newark is evolving and the opportunities this affords people all across Licking County. 

“We’re hoping to be one of many new ventures coming here,” Hoy said.