The Obscura Mule, a favorite at the new downtown cocktail lounge. (Photo: James Jenkins Photography)
A weekend night downtown usually means slow service, standing in line for a drink and losing your voice trying to talk to friends. Fun, huh?
That’s why the masterminds behind downtown Cincinnati’s newest cocktail lounge are doing things differently. Whether you’re out on the town for a weekend night with friends or grabbing champagne before a show on Tuesday at the Aronoff, Obscura is your new go-to spot for chic cocktails and conversation.
On Nov. 6, 2013, the lounge held a soft opening – as opposed to a grand opening – to avoid overcrowding. “[We] ensure that every guest receives a very personal and intimate experience,” says Courtney DeGeorge, hospitality coordinator for Obscura.
Inside you’ll find a grand space, modeled after a French Chateau, that would make even Napoleon proud. With deep wing back armchairs, marble top bistro tables, grand player piano, floor-to-ceiling window treatments, French Empire crystal chandeliers, white Italian table lamps, and sparkling chandeliers, Obscura’s opulent beauty is fit for a queen (ahem, you!).
Beneath Obscura, the hushed deep red decor of the Jim Thompson Room offers privileged, memership-only, guests several exclusive experiences, such as decadent wines, bourbons by the barrel, liquor cabinets and lavish leather furnishings.
The Jim Thompson Room is named after a famous American businessman, who lived in Asia at the time of his mysterious disappearance in Thailand in 1967. “It offers exclusivity to members and special guests with wine tastings twice monthly, spirit tastings and private events,” DeGeorge explains. “Membership access also includes wine lockers, bourbon and tequila barrel programs, and a fully stocked, full service lower level bar.”
“The Churchill’s Cup,” one of Obscura’s famous flaming
The drink menu is focused on mixology with fresh fruits, spices and unique ingredients. “Our ‘Classics Obscured’ menu offers an unconventional twist on classic cocktails,” says DeGeorge. “World-renowned Mixology and Hospitality Expert, Benjamin Newby, created the cocktail menu.” Obscura also offers light bites and sweets, craft beer, coffee and tea and an extensive wine list.
Not only are the cocktails a big focus at Obscura, but a good conversation is, too. “A guest was in for his first time at the bar and said, ‘Look around – notice anything? There isn’t one person on their cell phone.’ This was an interesting sentiment that reinforced Obscura’s goal to reinvent the art of conversation,” says DeGeorge. “The space is laid out in such a way to encourage conversation, and this includes the music playing at a level where you can still hear one another speak.”
According to DeGeorge, Obscura is launching several new event series, such as “Champagne Tuesday” and a Jolie Harris art exhibition in the Jim Thompson Room, running now through the end of winter. “We’ve received many requests for Bridal showers, receptions and photos for the day of the wedding because of the elegance of the space,” DeGeorge adds, “so, we hope to be able to hold more of those types of events.”