COVINGTON, Ky. -- Over the years, Covington’s Fifth Street corridor has struggled to maintain businesses.
For example, 14 E. Fifth St. previously housed a burger eatery (Flippin’ Jimmy’s), a bistro (Wolf and Co.), a pizzeria (Pizza Bomba) and a coffee shop/café (Blend) before Persian restaurant House of Grill opened there in the spring.
With the addition of the Globe, a new cocktail bar hosting its grand opening Oct. 7-8, Fifth Street finally has a shot at maintaining — and fortifying — an upmarket clientele.
Tony and Amy Milburn purchased the Globe building at 12 E. Fifth St. earlier this year when the strip joint Club Venus — which was housed in the location — shuttered its doors. (The couple also owns the adjacent Odd Fellows edifice, home to the Grand Ballroom/Pinnacle event center.)
“Tony and Amy used to go to the Avenue Lounge [located nearby on Madison Avenue before it closed] a lot,” said Jessica Meyer, the Globe’s general manager. “They’re like, ‘You know, it’s just kind of missing. And it would be good to pair with the weddings if we had a nice cocktail lounge next door.’”
The Globe gets its namesake from Tony Milburn’s great-great-grandfather, who owned a boat named the Globe that bootlegged liquor to Ludlow, Kentucky; a blown-up black-and-white photo of the boat hangs on the wall near the copper-topped, 10-seat bar.
Meyer, a Batesville native and longtime Covington resident, got her start in the industry at Outback Steakhouse, then worked for TGI Fridays’ Carlo’s Italian restaurant and helped with events at Playhouse in the Park. However, this is the first time Meyer has assisted in opening a bar.
“I love that I’m involved as much as I am,” she said. “[Tony and Amy] were like, ‘Here, Jess’ — which a lot of times general managers aren’t so involved, especially from the beginning — ‘we really need help doing everything.’”
While cocktail-centric bars Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and Wiseguy Lounge thrive in MainStrasse, the Globe will differ from those establishments, Meyer said.
“We’re going to be bourbon heavy, but we’re not a bourbon bar,” she said.
She created a small plates menu, consisting of fig flatbread; warm olives and Sixteen Bricks bread; a grilled apple, caramelized onion and gruyère sandwich with orange marmalade; spinach and crab dip; and a charcuterie plate. On football Sundays, she plans on attracting the sports crowd by offering pork sliders and different types of flatbread.
Meyer tapped Darren Parr, former Otto’s bar manager and Frida 602 front-of-the-house manager, to curate the craft cocktail menu, because she frequented those bars and thought of him when she began to assemble the Globe’s bar. Parr will make the juices, simple syrups, grenadine and a Bloody Mary mix from scratch and eventually would like to make his own house-infused vodkas and bitters.
“To start, with such a new place, we’re going to be busy,” Parr said. “We want to make sure things are running smoothly before we give ourselves too many tasks.”
To that end, Meyer asked Parr to concoct four-ingredient cocktails. “People appreciate a good craft cocktail but most people don’t want to wait 10 minutes for that cocktail,” Parr said.
“I told Darren what I liked,” Meyer said. “I wanted to see a wide variety of things. He takes it upon himself to study about liquor and mixers and all that new-crafted stuff.”
For its opening the Globe will offer seven to nine cocktails on the menu, including Parr’s twist on the Manhattan, the Fifth Street Manhattan: double-oaked Woodford Reserve bourbon, amaro and black walnut bitters. Another drink, the Venus, is a sweet champagne cocktail that pays homage to the space’s former inhabitants. (The Globe retained the Club Venus sign, which will be posted in the bar.)
Besides cocktails, they will pour six local drafts and have a wine menu.
“We’re going to see what sells, what doesn’t, what people in the neighborhood want and go from there,” Meyer says. “So if we have to change the menu a couple times in the first six months, that’s OK.”
After previously working at high-end restaurants with cocktail programs, Parr said he is looking forward to the Globe’s more relaxed atmosphere and would like to develop regulars, “those people who you know by name and who know you by name.”
“I’m really looking forward to working a bar where we’re talking about — and nothing is set in stone — possibilities with live music and/or karaoke, etc.,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being in a space where we have a little bit more availability to be fun and be loud and have parties.”
12 E. Fifth St., Covington
Grand opening Oct. 7-8.