If you’ve ever wondered what kind of vibe a ’60s cocktail bar could present, the Kennedy in downtown Pensacola will serve as a time machine when it opens in late summer.
The Kennedy will assume the corner location at 1 Palafox Place previously occupied by Pita Pit, which closed at the end of 2017. This is the creation of Katie Garrett, owner of Old Hickory Whiskey Bar, and will share some of the same staff as her sister bar, according to the 30-year-old owner.
Traditional cocktails like Boulevardier and Old Fashioned will be prepared and served the right way at Kennedy with a specialty menu that offers a modern twist to these time-honored favorites.
“It’s a mid-century modern place, Mad Man style,” Garrett said, referring to AMC’s popular old TV show. “So we’re going to take it like a Manhattan, make it the classic way, but our bartenders will have a really fun and unique take on it then. Our bartenders will also be creating this menu, as they do at Old Hickory with all of our seasonal drinks. But we’re not focusing on one particular spirit, so we’re going to focus on everything. ”
Wine, beer and even food will be served at the bar, which is named after John F. Kennedy and hopes to embody the spirit of the former president.
“It’s going to have the mid-century influences, so in my head I was like, ‘What was the most iconic thing I could think of in the’ 60s? ‘ And thinking about the quintessential early ’60s man, that kind of presidential figure, and John Kennedy is exactly where I went with that, “Garrett said. “So if you think, where would John Kennedy drink?” “We want it to look like this.”
Garrett said she wanted to use the kitchen left behind by Pita Pit so that The Kennedy could offer a modest appetizer menu focused on locally sourced ingredients for patrons wanting a snack to complement their cocktails.
“It won’t be a restaurant, it will be very small plates and things of that nature,” Garrett said.
Garrett rented the property inside the Blount Building to One Palafox Place LLC from Bobby Switzer in January. The Kennedy marks her second business after opening Old Hickory at 123 Palafox Place in 2014. The University of West Florida graduate said she had learned a lot from her five years of exclusive experience.
“I have been a boss of downtown Pensacola since I was 21 and just watching the changes – not just in our area but also in the drinking culture – I have stayed on top of this growth and the way people change their way of life “you drink,” said Garrett. “It’s a no-brainer to bring another cocktail bar to Pensacola because right now there are very few of them.”
She said the new venture wouldn’t be possible without the success of Old Hickory.
“This should be really fun, we’re excited to bring something new and different for people to experience,” Garrett said. “It’s going to be a whole new experience for people and that’s what we really love to do at Old Hickory is to give people experiences. So we’re happy to be doing it again.”
Check the incoming bar website at TheKennedy.bar.
Jake Newby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8538.