Liberty owner Andrew Friedman is opening a new bar. He gave us the details.
Where: 1720 East Olive Way, at the corner of Olive and Harvard, in the space in the house that for years was Online Coffee (then, briefly, Online Cafe). Friedman says, "Yeah, they really stretched when they named that one."
Name: No name yet. "Naming a bar is kind of like naming a baby. You have one chance to do it right." (Friedman's own brand-new baby girl is named Bowie Friedman.)
The concept/space: "It’s going to be as if you’re just going to your friend’s house and having a drink. Or your friend who lives in a really nice place, because none of us live in nice places. Not design-heavy—you just walk in and you’re like, 'Wow, this is cool.' Instead of like every other bar—mine included—having tables, [where] you walk in and you know you’re in a bar, you just come in, hang out, and drink at someone’s house. A lot of couches, very comfortable, that kind of thing."
"It’s just a naturally great space... You walk in and you feel great."
The capacity will be 60-ish people, with a 15-seat bar, which Friedman admits is not like your friend's place, but, he says: "We love being bartenders. We love being able to make drinks for people and stand behind the bar." They're also going to pre-batch specialty drinks instead of doing one-by-one craft cocktails: "You can make a really great drink without taking the time to make a six-ingredient drink every time." Of course, you'll still be able to order whatever cocktail you want, too. And they'll be expanding the deck into an all-season patio.
When: "It should not take a long time, because there’s not a terrific amount to do—it’s just that you never know how long the city takes to give us our permits—because we’re doing everything legally. A novel concept for a lot of bars. So if it’s open in two months, we’d be stoked."
Food: "It’s not going to be a chef-centric type of food. It’s going to be light, really tasty, really good, and very satisfying, but it’s not going to be a deep menu." He has no idea who will be in the kitchen yet—it's not a secret, they just don't have a chef yet.
On juggling a newborn baby and a new business: "You just make it work. Life puts stuff in front of you, and you just kind of hold it in, keep moving forward. The baby has no idea what’s going on. She’s not contributing much to the design process." Meanwhile, the opening process is going "smooth as the bottom of a newborn baby."
Why now: He was a consultant for the previous owner, and they kept in touch. "And one day he called and said, 'Hey man, you want this space? I don’t want to do it.' And I was more than happy to say yes."