The Cave Bar & Lounge Makes its Debut DowntownJanuary 10, 2022 3:36 pm Susan Post
Downtown’s Cave Bar & Lounge opened in mid-December promising a new spot to grab a cocktail and a bite to eat in a sophisticated, intimate setting.
The setting befits the name. Cave Bar took up residence in the basement of Sidebar at 122 E. Main St.
While the concepts have different owners, Alberto Tapia’s at the helm at Sidebar, with Derek Amaya bringing a long-held dream to life with Cave Bar, the two share more than an address.
Cave Bar serves a curated menu of Sidebar’s tapas and pizzas, as well as a few of its cocktails for easy, post-dinner transitioning from upstairs to downstairs. Over time, the lounge will build its own menu of signature drinks, with a more extensive bourbon list emerging over the next few weeks.
Amaya has a specific patron in mind for the experience he’s creating through Cave Bar.
“I want to cater to the much older crowd,” he says.
Amaya describes Cave Bar as an ideal spot to come with a significant other, or to stop in after work for a few quality cocktails. It’s classy, but also a place to dance and have fun.
Each night of the week will bring a new entertainment option to Cave Bar’s depths. A salsa instructor hits the floor Tuesday nights; Wednesdays offer live jazz, and Thursdays, house music. Fridays and Saturdays are more open format, with a rotating lineup of DJs.
Amaya himself is a DJ – DJ Cale – spinning in Columbus since the early ’00s, starting at by-gone Park Street bars like Sugar and Spice. He’s been involved in the Columbus music scene ever since, and been an integral part of community events like Festival Latino.
But ever since those early days, Amaya’s always wanted to have his own place – one that filled a gap he saw in Columbus for spots with a little bit of Latin flair.
Sidebar proved to be the ideal partner for such a venture with its South-American and Spanish-inspired tapas. It was Amaya’s sister that first introduced him to the restaurant, which he then frequented, coming in at least once a week. It was more than the food and the Latin flair, but the customer service he admired at Sidebar, an experience and focus that Amaya looks to replicate downstairs.
Amaya had kept in touch with Tapia over the last several years, just waiting for a chance to get his hands on the basement space. When previous tenant The Pelican Room closed its doors mid-2021, Amaya got the call he’d been waiting for that the lower level was now available.
Also owning his own construction company, Amaya was able to do many of the renovations himself, making for a relatively quick turnaround on the space.
The Cave Bar & Lounge is open Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
All photos by Susan Post