Billy Yanks bourbon bar closer to opening in Hamilton: What to know

Creation of the Billy Yanks bourbon bar in Hamilton is progressing, with hopes of opening next month.

General Manager Jason Campbell told the Journal-News he hopes to open in late July.

That would be more good news for Hamilton’s Main Street business corridor, which like many areas nationwide is emerging from the economic doldrums of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it can add a further spark to the increasingly energized area with potential to attract new visitors to the city, believes Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

“The fact that they’re going to have a bourbon bar I think is going to bring in another population from outside the city,” Bates said. “Bourbon’s hot. And people will travel for a bourbon bar.

“We assume the food is going to be terrific, because of who’s doing it.”

Cafeo Hospitality Group is a well-regarded restaurant operator that runs such establishments as Incline Public House in Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhood, Jefferson Social in Cincinnati’s The Banks Riverfront Entertainment District) and Press on Monmouth, in Newport, Ky.

“It creates another point of excitement as you walk down Main Street,” Bates said. “It’s been a long time coming where things are too far apart on Main Street, and this starts filling it in.”

Several of those gaps are being filled in, including with HUB on Main, which calls itself Hamilton’s Urban Backyard, and the taco restaurant and bar Agave & Rye also moving in to what will be refurbished buildings.

Six renovated apartments above Billy Yanks have been fully leased, said Matt Olliges of Cincinnati’s Vision Realty Group, the building’s developer, who owns the building with Tony Cafeo, the restaurant operator.

“It was a pretty quick lease-up,” he said.

The monthly rental rates were $1,100 to $1,300.

Olliges said he has been so pleased with the Hamilton project he’s looking for other development opportunities in the city.

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Much of the development along Main Street and elsewhere in Hamilton has been triggered by construction of the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill indoor sports complex and convention center that will attract 10,000 or more athletes and their families on some weekends.

Local business owners who have visited the original Spooky Nook facility near Lancaster, Pa., have made plans to open stores or restaurants with based on the economic development that has happened there, surrounding a sports facility that attracts people to sports tournaments from three-hour drives or farther.

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