Since opening earlier this summer in Walnut Hills, patrons have been eagerly awaiting for the second half of the Comfort Station experience.
Located in a former 105-year-old rest area (basically a public restroom), Comfort Station has transformed a dilapidated space into an airy nightlife destination full of hip cocktails and outdoor lounge areas. And up until this point, guests have only been able to enter the bar through the original women's room door, now painted a bright blue, to access the main-floor space, replete with original skylights, plush blue-velvet seating and living plant walls.
From the main bar, you can access the back patio, which has multiple seating nooks, including an elevated perch with cushions.
What people have been waiting for is the second half of this choose-your-own-adventure experience: the entrance through the men's door.
“From the beginning, when we opened the Women’s entrance this summer, the response to the upstairs portion of Comfort Station has been incredible,” says owner Stuart King, who also heads up Over-the-Rhine's Sundry and Vice. “The interest and demand for us to open our downstairs has been overwhelming. Our team has been hard at work to create a space very different for the city of Cincinnati and what they have seen from us at Sundry and Vice and upstairs.”
The men's room entrance is now open and offers a sort of sexy "microbar" experience, according to a release.
Guests are first greeted by a custom neon sign emblazoned with the motto “Sin Now, Pay Later” before descending the stairs to a seductive cocktail lounge for exclusive experiences. Dimly lit, the subterranean level intimates the pleasures and vices often associated with nighttime revelry and good-natured mischief. The eight-seat bar acts essentially as a microbar with virtually a private bartender concocting and creating drinks based on guests’ preferences. The bespoke experience is reminiscent of omakase-style presentation where a highly skilled, incredibly knowledgeable mixologist showcases their own specialities and artistic merits by creating a tailored cocktail progression serving only the very best ingredients and selections from a curated list of spirits.
General Manager Jack Keane has created a focused and upscale cocktail list featuring options like the Smoking in the Mens Room, made with rye, bourbon, smoked bitters, sweet and dry vermouths, and garnished with flambéed cherry.
“Downstairs at Comfort Station we wanted to push the envelope and provide an interesting juxtaposition to the effortless quality of what’s happening upstairs,” Keane says in the same release. “The more intimate atmosphere allows us to get really technical and develop drinks that are both cerebral and thoughtful.”
The basement also features historic art pieces, candles and taboo memorabilia and is available for private parties and exclusive tastings.
The downstairs bar is open starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.