With Lazy Tiger, co-owner Tim Wiggins gets to open the cocktail bar of his dreams.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has unleashed abject doom on the hospitality industry, there is reason to hope: Lazy Tiger (210 N. Euclid Avenue)
, a new bar from the owners of Retreat Gastropub and Yellowbelly, will open this Spring or Summer in the Central West End.
Owners Travis Howard and Tim Wiggins announced their plans for Lazy Tiger this morning, describing the bar as having a "sense of adventure with a chill vibe." Though the restaurateur and acclaimed barman are no stranger to running bars with strong cocktail programs, this marks their first foray into an actual bar-first format. Wiggins can't wait.
"We'd originally built out the space to be a bar, but were using it as an events space during the holidays," Wiggins explains. "Our ultimate plan was always to have an intimate little cocktail bar set up so that someone who has never had a craft cocktail could have one that is fun and delicious, but not heavy and stuffy. We think of this as if there is a big machine behind a curtain, and what you get is complex, but what you see is something that is humble and simple."
Named after one of the most popular drinks on Yellowbelly's menu, Lazy Tiger is described as having a dark, cozy feel "with natural decor for a masculine and Bohemian design." The bar will serve fifteen cocktails, broken down by styles like "Old Fashioneds," "Highballs" and "Spirit-Free." A selection of wine and beer will also be available, as well as bar food like chicken taquitos and buffalo crab dip.
With the news of Lazy Tiger coming out at such a difficult time in the industry, Wiggins hopes it can send a signal to both hospitality professionals and guests that there is reason to hope.
"Everyone is sitting around depressed, and nothing is open," Wiggins says. "We figure, let's remind people that there are still things in the works. This is helping us to keep our morale going. I'm sending pictures to the staff who is going to work here of the logos and the space to keep people excited and give them hope that there is an end to this, even though this is the hardest thing restaurants have ever seen."
Wiggins is not foolishly optimistic about the current state of affairs in the hospitality industry. He's experiencing it himself. With Retreat Gastropub and Yellowbelly open for takeout business only, the restaurant group has been forced to get creative to help its staff through this very difficult time. It's been heartbreaking for him to experience — which is exactly why he feels that he has no choice but to push ahead in hope of a brighter future.
"Every day we are shocked by what's happening and assuming it will be doom and gloom, but I can't live there," Wiggins explains. "I have to push through. We feel like there is very little reason to believe that we won't be back, and when we are, the excitement level to be in a restaurant will be higher than it ever has. People will be so excited to go out to restaurants, and we will be so excited to serve them. We have to look at it from that perspective and stay positive."
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