Yonder is an Outdoorsy Themed Rooftop Mocktail and Cocktail Bar in MainStrasse

The elevated experience is on the second floor of Commonwealth Bistro

Jul 23, 2019 at 4:50 pm
click to enlarge Yonder is located on the rooftop of Commonwealth Bistro - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Yonder is located on the rooftop of Commonwealth Bistro

If you’re looking for great mocktails, just head over Yonder — literally. 

Yonder is a rooftop bar that opened at the end of June above Commonwealth Bistro in MainStrasse. 

Conceived by Commonwealth owners Chris and Tess Burns as a way to utilize the patio above the main restaurant, the new bar features the same attention to detail that has made the bistro popular. 

“(We wanted guests to feel) like they are all our friends coming into our home,” Tess says.

For Tess, who doesn’t drink, an essential part of creating a relaxing and welcoming space was offering a well-crafted selection of mocktails. 

“I wanted to honor that guest who, like myself, wants to go out but also wants more options than soda water with lime,” she says. 

So she asked Bryan Harris, Yonder’s beverage director, to create a mocktail list that was just as exciting and delicious as the cocktail menu, and he delivered. So far, the crowd favorite is the Cucumber Strawberry Smash, a concoction devised with the sweltering Kentucky heat in mind. It combines cucumber, jalapeño and lime with strawberry Jarritos, a popular Mexican soft drink. 

“Yonder is an outdoor bar, so we focused on making drinks that would cool you off on a hot summer day,” Harris says. “With the Strawberry Smash, the cucumber is cooling and you also get spice from the jalapeño, which makes you sweat a bit and cools you off, too.”

click to enlarge The Cucumber Strawberry Smash - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The Cucumber Strawberry Smash

This refreshing summer drink is contrasted with the more somber High Lonesome — locally roasted Deeper Roots cold brew coffee, chicory syrup, sarsaparilla, almond milk and mint. Harris’ inspiration was the Appalachian Folk musician Roscoe Holcomb, whose album The High Lonesome Sound captured the hardships of his life in the Kentucky mountains. And, Harris adds of the drink, “It evokes a little bit of a cowboy theme as well.”

The mocktail trio is completed with Peaches & Herb — peaches, local Carriage House Farm honey, lemon, thyme and seltzer — which is named after the Disco duo and will be served as long as its eponymous fruit is in season. Harris developed it in collaboration with Yonder’s culinary team, who helped him imagine how the flavors of grilled peaches, a summertime favorite, could be captured in a drink.

Yonder’s alcohol is also noteworthy. One of its most popular cocktails is the Van Lear Rose, named after one of Kentucky Country music artist Loretta Lynn’s songs. The drink combines hibiscus vodka, lemonade, orange blossom and seltzer. Those looking to double down on the outdoor theme can order a Campfire Breakfast — housemade bacon-washed bourbon and marshmallow mixed with maple syrup. 

These permanent cocktail features are joined by a weekly special drink. Since the bar opened, these concoctions have included a yuzu slushie, maple kombucha and frozen Painkiller.

click to enlarge Food options rotate weekly - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Food options rotate weekly

Yonder’s culinary menu also rotates on a weekly basis. Like Commonwealth, Yonder’s chefs and bartenders use direct-from-the-farm ingredients, but the bar’s more flexible approach lets them use unique items that come in small quantities, which are perfect for an appetizer that only sticks around for a week but couldn’t be worked into the main restaurant’s menu. Past dishes have ranged from Oysters Rockabilly to wagyu beef jerky made in house.

The menu matches the spirit of outdoorsy adventure that permeates Yonder. Tess and Chris were inspired by the natural beauty of Kentucky State Parks like Red River Gorge (though, Tess diplomatically adds, “Ohio state parks are also great”). They partnered with local designer Corey Rineair, who also curated Commonwealth’s interior, to create a wood-encased space reminiscent of a treehouse. It’s complemented by Midcentury Modern touches that evoke the decades-old aesthetic still found in many state parks today. 

“We wanted you to feel like you were away from all your troubles,” Tess says. “Anytime you go camping and get to finally sit down in nature you feel calm and released. “

Yonder can seat about 30 and, true to its weekend-getaway theme, is open Thursday through Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.

Yonder by Commonwealth, 621 Main St., Covington, commonwealthbistro.com/yonder.