The seeds were sown for the new Mixx Lounge on Front Street during a “foodie” trip to Cleveland when a group of Sarnians found themselves sipping on classic cocktails and enjoying some soft, acoustic jazz music.
Sarnians need a place where the bartenders know what a Slippery Pete and a Harvey Wallbanger is, they thought.
It’s taken a few years but Mike Peddigrew, Scott Dargie and Brian and Tammy Vickery are ready to introduce a new concept where patrons can gather to sip on their favourite beverages.
Food is limited to charchuterie boards filled with cured meats and specialty cheeses.
The focus is on cocktails.
“A majority of them, like a gin fizz, have been around since the late 1800s,” explains Mike Peddigrew, an owner and Mixx Lounge’s manager.
Some had auspicious beginnings like the Side Car, which was created at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and is a mixture of cognac, Cointreau and fresh lemon with a sugar rim.
Everything is made from scratch, said Peddigrew. “There are no powders, no canned juices, no blenders.
“It’s all old school with a lot of shaking, stirring and fresh juice squeezed to order.”
Brian and Tammy Vickery are well-established restaurateurs in Sarnia and owners of the Dockside. Scott Dargie is co-owner of Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub and Mike Peddigrew has a long history in the restaurant business with a hiatus selling real estate in Sarnia.
They leased 180 Front St. Dec. 1, drawn to the property in part because it did not require a great deal of renovation. A fireplace, stonework and bar were already there.
Changes have been limited to another wall of matching stonework, some barn wood and new equipment for the elaborate bar.
Seven employees have been hired, including a head mixologist who has bartended around the world and taught mixology. Staff training is underway in preparation for when the liquor licence arrives and Mixx Lounge can open, probably by the end of this week, said Brian Vickery.
Mixx Lounge will feature a wide range of cocktails and wine, with 10 different kinds of each liquor, and a limited choice of beer. Standard drinks such as Grey Hounds or Tom Collins cost $7.95 while classic cocktails like Singapore Slings or Rusty Nails cost $9.95 to $14.95.
Another feature already proving popular is the Mixx VIP box, which is a personal locker that requires a monthly membership fee of $50 or $500 annually, a $500 start -up fee, and the cost of replenishing whatever liquor is held for the owner of the locker.
Ten of the 12 VIP boxes have already sold, said Peddigrew. “Many are taken by business people who like the fact they can give out cards to their friends or clients that allow them to enjoy a drink from their locker.
“When they leave here, there’s no bill.”
“We believe Sarnia is ready for this. People here appreciate the quality and service we are going to offer,” he said.
Mixx Lounge will be open Tuesday – Saturday from noon to midnight; Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Watch for the opening date on social media.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.