Travis Owens Heads Up Cocktail Program at Antiques on High, Reveals Plans for Curio 2.0
Local mixologist Travis Owens wasn’t absent from his craft for long. Since the closure of Curio, the craft cocktail bar he helmed in German Village, Owens has launched a consulting business and taken on the Seventh Son off-shoot, Antiques on High, as one of his first clients.
Expected to open in mid-October, Antiques on High will offer exclusively sour and wild Belgian-style beers, along with an extensive draft cocktail program that Owens’ company Behind The Glass, LLC is helping to develop.
At 5,000 square feet, Antiques on High is built to accommodate not only its own production facility, but a large capacity of imbibers. Instead of keeping them waiting for individually muddled, mixed and garnished cocktails, kegs were the way to go.
Draft cocktails aren’t exactly new to Owens — he concocted between 10 and 15 during his time at Curio — but he says they are relatively new to breweries.
“Probably a little bit of it has to do with the saturation of the beer market,” Owens says. “Beer facilities need to start offering something other than just beer, and they’re starting to pay a little bit more attention to the spirits they’re putting into their cocktail lists.”
The brewery will offer between four and six cocktails on draft, which include a mix of classic and unique recipes, as well as two in a large format. In the name of sustainability, the brewery will also cross-utilize beer ingredients like hops, barley and malt syrups to create “beer cocktails,” for lack of a better term.
In the same vein, Antiques is passing up plastic straws in favor of steel and will recycle spent citrus peels rather than throwing them away.
“It all kind of goes along with the modern movement toward sustainability, a lot of things we won’t be wasting, hopefully,” Owens says.
These sustainability practices were implemented at Curio, and they’re part of what Behind The Glass offers its clients. Along with custom cocktail menu conceptualization, the business is also focused on the art of hospitality, coaching bar and restaurant staffs how to create a customer experience people want to come back for; and bar design, or planning the positioning of certain ingredients and tools so that bartenders don’t have to stretch unnecessarily or bend down over and over.
“[Watershed Distillery] approached me to help them design their bar, and that’s where I got to know the logistics and numbers of bar design — heights, distances, and body movements,” Owens says. “It can be a really geeky, technical thing, but it’s also a basic hospitality thing.”
As Behind The Glass attracts more clients, Owens says he’s working on a larger project as well: Curio 2.0. A reiteration of the bar that closed in June, this new project may or may not keep the Curio name, but it’ll definitely keep its core purpose.
“I’m sticking to what I know,” Owens says. “It’ll be another cocktail bar, maybe a small amount of food.”
He says that, as developed as the cocktail culture is here in Columbus, it can use another bar like Curio. He’s currently scouting out locations for this new venture, but hasn’t landed on any specific neighborhood.
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