When Pleasant Ridge’s The Shining-themed Overlook Lodge opens on Halloween, don’t expect pools of blood pouring out of elevators; instead, expect simple craft cocktails in a no-frills lodge setting.
Last year, bartender and movie aficionado Jacob Trevino launched the local Gorilla Cinema, a pop-up dinner and movie experience where people watch a movie paired with themed foods and cocktails. For this summer’s Willy Wonka screening, Trevino made cotton candy vodka-infused edible bubbles, and Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar pastry chef Martha Tiffany took care of the lollipops. Doing the cinema helped him form the concept for Overlook.
“I really wanted to do something a little different and interesting for the Cincinnati craft cocktail community,” Trevino says. “I wanted to create a menu that was a little bit more basic and straightforward that you didn’t need a history book.”
The bar takes its namesake from The Shining’s Overlook Hotel, and Trevino desired to create “tiny homages to The Shining without being tacky.” It’s not his all-time favorite movie — that would be It’s A Wonderful Life — but he hopes to pull people in with the theme and a bucolic setting. The Shining nuances appear in the bar’s aesthetics: a streak of red light on the bar itself, wallpaper with a pattern from the movie, a giant fireplace and hearth, drinks named Writer’s Block and The Hatchet. And they plan on throwing a New Year’s Eve party to commemorate the ambiguous 1921 NYE/July Fourth photo in the movie.
Trevino grew up in Texas, lived in Austin, Houston and New Orleans and moved to Cincinnati in July 2013 from Lake Charles, La., to be with his fiancée, Katie Fraser, a partner in Gorilla Cinema and The Overlook. (Lifelong Pleasant Ridger Otto Baum is another business partner.)
If all the construction is completed on time, the bar will have a soft opening on Halloween and will probably loop a screening of The Shining, which won’t be screened frequently after Halloween. Otherwise, they’ll show Bengals games and nature documentaries and have live Bluegrass bands on the weekends.
Before owning Overlook, Trevino was the bar manager at OTR’s Salazar until last year, and he worked at Molly Wellmann’s Myrtle’s Punch House until this summer. “(Jose) Salazar taught me restraint,” he says. “If you go to Mita’s or any of his restaurants, his food is very simple, and you’ll see that.”
In sourcing the seven cocktails on the menu, priced at $8 and $9, Trevino wanted to make drinking fun again — something not to be taken too seriously. “Everybody needs to take a step back and be like, ‘Hey guys, we can serve the best products, but it doesn’t need to be pretentious,’ ” Trevino says. “I want to make the best cocktails in the city, but I also want that guy who drinks Bud Light every day to come in and be like, ‘I like that place.’ ”
The Writer’s Block is made with Old Forester bourbon, St. Germain and apple-blackberry tea — a cocktail version of his grandma’s sweet tea. “There’s a lot of Southern influence in what I do,” Trevino says. “I like really big flavors.” The Hatchet is “Midwest spicy,” made with tequila, ginger liqueur, fresh lime and a Spanish-spiced rim; the bloody mary is made with a housemade mix, smoked vodka and topped with “American beer” foam, aka Bud Light Lime. They also plan to have local beers, wines and bourbons and beef jerky from Hillje Smokehouse in Hillje, Texas and trail mix to snack on.
The setting of Pleasant Ridge is vital to the bar, mainly because the suburb is experiencing a renaissance, with Grand Central Delicatessen, Nine Giant Brewing and Share: Cheesebar opening on the block. Trevino wanted to do something for the neighborhood, for those who eschew venturing to OTR’s saturated scene. “I think your Friday, Saturday night crowd, they want the best bang for their buck,” he says. “They want to go somewhere where they can have more than just a drink — they want to have an experience. That’s why we really want to do the theme. It’s one of those things where ‘It’s Saturday night, let’s go check out that Shining bar.’ ”
OVERLOOK LODGE will be located at 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge. More info: facebook.com/overlooklodge.