Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Mixologist Molly Wellmann To Open Own Place

It's really all about the experience.

That's the first thing out of Molly Wellmann's mouth as she talks about her new bar. Wellmann, who has a dedicated following of imbibers in Cincinnati, is opening a bar in the old Japp's space at 1134 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine in early summer.

She's keeping the name Japp's, but intends on bringing something different to the Queen City. "This is going to be classy but unpretentious," says Wellmann. "I won't have a single TV in the place. It's all about the liquor and the conversation."

Wellmann, who is partnering with the folks from Neon's Unplugged, says the new Japp's will be a great place to meet friends, take out-of-towners and have first dates.

"This is all about the cocktail. It's about the experience of watching it be made. You might wait a minute longer, but everything will be crafted with care." Wellmann says craft cocktails will run about $10-$12. Other drinks will have a lower pricepoint.

The mixologist has big ideas for the place. Wellmann says every drink will be classic or classic-inspired, complete with handmade mixers. The craft cocktail queen says she will be behind the bar Tuesday through Saturday and will rely on trusted bartending friends in the beginning. Eventually Wellmann plans on training a bar staff that will know the ins and outs of mixology, including the history of each cocktail.

Japp's, once an Over-the-Rhine wig shop, still has some remnants of its previous incarnation. Wellmann says the back case in the bar is the original wig case. Wellmann intends on turning it into a back bar. A front bar will complete the space, which features tall ceilings and a small outdoor patio. A back alley leads to Neon's. Owners also hope to possibly build a platform on a back wall that would allow guests to watch the action at the main bar.

"This is going to be historically inspired," says Wellmann. "Right now the space is a mess inside. We plan on keeping the old features and develop something Cincinnati has never seen."

Wellmann says she wants to someday host liquor tastings and serve unique wines. She also says she doesn't want to sell big, "corporate" beers, with the exception of local favorite, Christian Moerlein.

"I'm not trying to make a million dollars with this. If people want to go watch the World Series, they can go do that somewhere else. There are a million places for that. This is about cocktails and the art of making them properly."

Read my October 2009 interview with Molly Wellmann here.

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