Match Cigar Bar’s short stay in downtown New Albany won’t leave a vacancy for long: Double Barrel, a bourbon bar and lounge, hopes to open in the spot at 147 E. Main St. sometime in early March.
The aesthetic won’t change too much — much of the décor and furniture still remain, at least for the time being — but there won’t be smoking, and part of a wall was knocked out to facilitate an extra bar.
The place offers a serene, laid-back atmosphere bordered with exposed brick and accented with modern furniture and lighting. The copper-backed main bar is already loaded with dozens of spirits, with more to come.
Hardwood floors come together with leather couches, coffee tables and decorative rugs to create the illusion of being in someone’s well-finished basement. A stage with additional seating will eventually be used for occasional live music.
There will be a couple of flat-screen TVs that will often show sports, but owners Michelle Ray and Courtney Cain caution that Double Barrel won’t be a sports bar — it’s all about kicking back and enjoying a bourbon, craft beer or cocktails, with a high-end experience.
Double Barrel is a product of equal parts opportunism, hard work and happy accident; Ray and Cain last year started a mobile bartending business called Naked by Sunday. The concept was to fill in at special events such as weddings, reunions, street festivals and the like.
“We started that in hopes of having some fun once in a while on the weekends,” Ray tells Insider. They now employ 12 bartenders and rarely get to work together so much, as was originally the plan, as the company grown.
The bar staff at Double Barrel will mostly mirror the staff of Naked by Sunday, and the partners seek to hire five more. The new bar will be a brick-and-mortar version of the mobile business (sort of), which will continue.
The bourbon list is ever-growing and will feature exclusively Kentucky bourbons, but a variety of spirits will be available for making classic cocktails ranging from old fashioneds to margaritas. Ray and Cain still are developing a list and recipes of signature cocktails.
“They will all be made to order,” Cain says, meaning customers at the bar won’t be getting drinks created from ready-made mixes.
“It will be worth it,” Ray adds.
Eight taps will pour a variety of craft beers, while domestics will be available in bottles. Cain says the draft list will mostly rotate with seasonals and other new releases and will focus on local and regional breweries, from Lexington’s Country Boy Brewing to local New Albanian Brewing Company.
In addition, a handful of house wines will be available for those not interested in spirits or beer.
One intriguing aspect of the bar is a small, windowed space in a corner of the side bar, which was a humidor for Match, but which Cain says has been suggested by others as an ideal retail space for carryout sales. Bourbon Barrel isn’t licensed for that currently, but it’s a possibility for the future.
Ray and Cain envision the bar being a place people go before or after dinner to relax and have a conversation over drinks, but bar snacks will be available, and they’ve also talked with Roadrunner Kitchen, a new restaurant next door, about having their grab-and-go foods available eventually for those who arrive hungry.
An exact open date hasn’t been set, but Ray says hours to start will likely be Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight.
“We’re hoping to have all the pieces in place and not have to have a rushed opening,” Ray says.