Even though colder temperatures have taken over and will linger for the next few months, a heat wave is about to bring a little warmth downtown in the form of a tiki bar called The Limbo.
Insider spoke with business owner Olivia Griffin in August when she first signed the lease to the space at 411 W. Chestnut St., and we recently dropped by to check out her progress — as she’s hoping to open by New Year’s Eve if all goes well.
The charming, bright space is coming together well, especially given that Griffin didn’t get access until early October. Situated behind CRAFT(s) Gallery near the corner of Chestnut and South Fourth Street — and just a few blocks from her other business, The Mysterious Rack — The Limbo will feature a main bar and performance stage, a lounge, a VIP room, a kitchen and a patio.
Griffin has spent the last couple months tearing out the low ceilings and fluorescent lights, painting the walls in all the vivid tiki-style colors you can imagine — think aqua, magenta and pink flamingos — and picking out bamboo wall paper, furniture, light fixtures and more.
The vibe oozes Hawaiian beach culture, and Griffin hopes to channel that spirit by featuring island music-inspired performers and DJs. Classic Hawaiian music is a very specific genre, but she knows a few DJs in town who boast that in their collections.
Griffin, who enjoys hosting events all around town, also is planning several burlesque nights a week, including “Titty Tiki Tuesdays” that’ll be free and feature amateur burlesque and drink specials. And she’s trying to put together an all-girl string band to play some nights as well.
Speaking of drinks, the bar will have six classic cocktails that can be made with either rum or bourbon — and depending on which spirit you pick, the ingredients will change slightly. The cocktails will use fresh-squeezed fruit and include tiki staples like the Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian and Grog. And, of course, you can expected to hear a blender and have your drink served in tiki-styled glassware, complete with umbrellas and fun straws.
Griffin hopes The Limbo will be a meeting place for all different types of people — from artists to tourists to those who work downtown — and she plans on being open seven days a week starting at 4 p.m. each day. There will be a happy hour for those looking for a spot to hang out while the rush hour traffic dissipates, and Griffin says she also hopes to attract the after-show crowds who will already be downtown.
This week, Griffin will tackle the last of the plumbing and will finish up the bar and stage. The opening date all depends on getting the right permits and licenses, so that could mean as soon as New Year’s Eve, or a week or two after. And by Derby, she hopes to be serving food from a fairly large kitchen that came with the space.
As rum will be one of the main spirits at The Limbo, Griffin wants to start building up a collection of rare and harder-to-find brands. She’s also thrilled to discover the Downtown Business District has a free composting service.
“It’s a big relief to me,” the avid composter says. “I’ll use biodegradable straws, napkins and everything, but I was worried about all the fruit peels and rinds.”
Griffin isn’t sure yet how she’ll split her time between her store and the bar, but she’ll be sure to have a great team running both, so she isn’t too worried about it.
“I’m a total workaholic, so I don’t mind it,” she says of putting in the hours. “I like working hard.”
Griffin says she’s excited to open The Limbo and toss her hat into the growing ring of female-owned businesses.
“I feel like this city has a lot of great women entrepreneurs — it’s inspiring,” she says. “I hope to also hire a lot of women and make this a safe, fun, free environment.”
Insider will keep you updated on the The Limbo’s official opening date. Meanwhile, here are more photos of The Limbo in progress: