|- Jeremy White, a five year bar tending veteran, makes a Garden Maze.|
You won’t hear a bartender too often say, “I feel like going out and drinking has lost some of its magic.” Jacob Trevino wants to change that sentiment with his latest project, Overlook Lodge: A Rustic Watering Hole.
Trevino, whose 13 years of bartending include managing well known local bars like Japp’s and Myrtle’s Punch House, and the past five years with craft cocktails specifically, brought together his team of eight in Pleasant Ridge to change what he saw as a stagnant atmosphere.
“I’m frustrated. As much as I love making traditional whiskey sours, it takes three or four minutes to make,” Trevino says. “The guy that wants a Bud Light at the bar, he doesn’t understand that. He’s frustrated, the person ordering the drink is frustrated because they just wanted it fast… It came out of frustration that there has to be a way to make craft cocktailing more approachable than it is. You don’t need a history lesson every time you want a drink.”
There came the lightbulb. Trevino shows up to the bar early and starts prepping his cocktails, eliminating what could be a burden to a customer later. He spent the entire interview prepping for the Overlook's second day, cutting assorted fruit for the opening in just a few hours.
“We’re taking the four minutes to make the cocktail now, so when you order the drink it takes 30 seconds.”
Trevino says he knew he wanted Pleasant Ridge to be Overlook’s home from day one, citing the community’s support for small businesses, evidenced by Everybody’s Records and Queen City Comics being a minute walk away.
Trevino, a movie fan through and through, wanting to tie everything together with a homey atmosphere, drew inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” saying a lodge is the best setting for what he wanted. The location he chose presented what most would consider annoyances, that he turned into almost selling points.
The location is admittedly small, but adds to the warm feeling of home, and less of a sticky downtown bar where you fight for elbow room. The space doesn’t allow for a kitchen, so in place of chicken fingers and burgers, Trevino and Co. offer exotic trail mixes, and jerky from Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse, made in Trevino’s home state of Texas.
Talking with Trevino, you can see every emotion he works through when he talks. When he’s discussing prior experiences bar tending, his eyes dim, his voice becomes professional, and his face gives no more effort than is necessary to finish the thought. He starts talking about Overlook Lodge and all that customer service he put into the bar, and his hands leave his sides, his eyes widen, and he laughs every few words out of excitement.
Speaking of customer service: Overlook Lodge is a giant welcome mat. Trevino says it’s hard to be everything to everyone, but on the outside, he’s juggling it all well. The bar is littered with homages to its father movie (bonus points for discovering the film reference in the men's restroom). They plan movie trivia every tuesday. Trevino spoke about “Live from the Lodge,” the monthly podcast that’ll be hosted from inside the bar. He wants to pull talent from as far down as Tennessee to regularly bring in live bluegrass music. Then, there’s the cookies.
|- The men's restroom has an easter egg hidden if you search enough.|
The first night I met Trevino, after I stumbled into the Lodge on Halloween, he stood on the bar and called for the audience’s attention. He spoke of how last call was uncomfortable for both sides of the bar, and never wanted it to end that way in his building. The bartenders passed around Oreo’s with a glass of milk to wash it down. At Overlook, last call is signaled by a treat normally reserved for Santa Claus.
“Last call is a bummer! Last call is the ultimate letdown,” Trevino explained, the sly smile back on his face. “We decided to soften that blow. It’s our way of saying, ‘thanks for coming out tonight.’ It’s very unexpected. No other bar is doing it. We wanted to do something cool for last call…most last calls are like, ‘Get out!’ and close the doors on you… it’s [milk and cookies] a softer way to say goodnight.”
Trevino genuinely wants to thank those that come through his doors. Which is why he came up with “Room 237,” an Employee of the Month honor, but for the other side of the bar. The staff vote each month for who they think the top patron has been, and that person is given a key ring that earns them 10% for life at Overlook Lodge.
“Everyone wants to be a regular, but you never know when you’ve reached that,” Trevino says. “Now you do.”
In addition to the craft cocktails, all of which are named after iconic moments in “The Shining,” Overlook Lodge will serve typical beers like Miller and Budweiser, local favorites Rhinegeist and MadTree, as well as wine. Trevino says he’s already planning out his next two ideas should this one do as planned, but the grin comes back when he says, “Mums the word,” to a request for details.
Milk, moonshine, and movies: whatever you need, Overlook Lodge in Pleasant Ridge wants to give it to you. I’ll see you there.