Rooftop Bar and Event Venue Juniper Will Open in October
The search for the perfect urban rooftop venue is over for Steve Rayo, owner and CEO of Dock580. The Smith Bros. Hardware building is a little taller now, with construction on the rooftop bar, restaurant and venue space nearing completion. Opening in late October, Juniper will function as a private event space on the weekends and a bar and restaurant open to the public three nights a week.
“There’s nothing like this in I’ll say the state and probably the region,” Rayo said after a hardhat tour of the space. “We looked everywhere.”
All told, Rayo put more than $4 million into the project, which is basically a building on top of a building. Secured on top of cement platforms that stretch all the way down to the foundation is a venue that will support 299 people, a full bar and a kitchen.
Juniper has several areas within itself, including an “outdoor” terrace and an “indoor” dining room. Those words are in quotations, because the space can become a completely outdoor or a completely indoor venue, depending on the weather.
The terrace will have a fireplace, along with a panoramic view that lets patrons observe Downtown, the Arena District, the Short North, the Convention Center, the OSU Stadium and parts of Italian Village — “and we’re built in such a place that it’ll never be obstructed,” Rayo said. “There’s nothing they can really build around us.”
It’ll all be done in a theme that’s Gatsbyesque, almost like a rooftop speakeasy. Lounge seating will be plentiful and available for reservations. As most of the materials used for construction are steel and glass, for the space to open and close, decor will be minimal: mirrors behind the bar, cabinets with fixtures illuminating the bottles to be shelved, and that recognizable, geometric Gatsby print on the wallpaper in certain areas.
During the week, a menu serving a fusion of Antiguan and regional American dishes will be offered. Chef Andie Henri, born, raised, and trained in Antigua, will head up the kitchen. He’ll be adding flavor profiles from popular drinks of the 30s to traditional Antiguan dishes.
“So we’ll take a Godfather, or a Bees Knees or a Sidecar and take that flavor profile, and then create a protein using those juices, those citrus byproducts. It’s really fun,” Rayo said. “And we fuse that with the Antiguan food, like Johnny Cakes and Chop Chop and different things that you only see on the islands and you see nowhere in Columbus.”
Juniper has more than 40 events already booked through 2017 and 2018. Based on Dock580’s other venues, Rayo expects at least 150 gatherings each year.
Juniper will be open to the public Tuesday through Thursday, starting October 24.
For more information, visit dock580.com.