COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — The owners of Chapman’s Eat Market are creating a cocktail and jazz lounge.

Chef B.J. Lieberman and Bronwyn Haines expect to open Ginger Rabbit at 17 Buttles Ave. in the Short North in the spring. The basement space is the former home of Kingmakers Board Game Parlour, which pivoted during the pandemic to a teambuilding business.

Though Lieberman has said he and Haines always planned to expand with new concepts beyond their German Village restaurant, a jazz lounge wasn’t on their wishlist. They’re more inclined to let the space determine what they do rather than seeking out a space to fit a specific idea.

“We looked at the space initially just as a bar in the Short North, a place we could turn quickly,” he said.

It was a viewing of the movie La La Land that gave them the inspiration for a cocktail and jazz lounge.

After talking to friends and family with familiarity with music clubs, they decided to move forward.

An empty concrete box at the moment, the space’s décor will be softened with velvet curtains, plush seating options, and candles and mood lighting.

“We want to create intimate nooks, a place where you can come on dates, a place where you can relax and have a conversation,” Lieberman said. “It’s not going to be a concert venue per se.”

They envision music throughout the night, but at a softer and smoother level early, enough to give some atmosphere but still allow conversation.

“The volume might go up a little later in the evening,” he said.

Though Lieberman has gained much acclaim for his work as a chef, Ginger Rabbit will not actually have a kitchen.

The lounge will offer a menu of snacks, including a local cheese board, local bread, olives, and house-made bar nuts. It’ll also offer caviar and “conservas,” a.k.a. tinned fish and seafood.

“That’s something that’s always been on our mind,” Lieberman said. “Having a space with no kitchen, it was clear this would be a good place to do it. We think that’s a trend that is ready to take off.”

Ginger Rabbit will have a rotating menu of around eight choices ranging from around $10 a tin to more than $20 for Lieberman’s personal favorite: octopus in a tomato-garlic sauce.

It won’t have charcuterie at first, but he said that could be added eventually.

The cocktail menu, designed with Seth Laufman, formerly of the Blind Lady Tavern, will have between 20 and 24 choices split between their own creations and some classics.

“We want to dig deep into the (classics) well,” Lieberman said. “Not just the normal choices you see.”

There will be a small, local beer list as well as a selection of wines by the glass, too.

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