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10 bars in 10 years: 4EG debuts Igby's this month

With 10 restaurants and bars launched in 10 years, and more set to open soon, Four Entertainment Group (4EG) continues its successful run with Igby’s downtown, at 122 E. Sixth Street in between Main and Walnut streets.

4EG founders Bob Deck, Dave Halpern, Dan Cronican and Ben Klopp have two spaces reserved in the new U Square development in Clifton, one of which will be the group’s third Keystone Grill (other locations are in Covington and Hyde Park) and an adjacent bar.

“I think Cincinnati’s just moving in the right direction,” says Deck. “I grew up here, so, just seeing the city change over the last, you know, six or seven years, with all the independent restaurants and all the independent owners, it’s pretty cool.”
Deck and his partners cemented their commitment to the city by opening a central business office in Over-the-Rhine, across the street from The Anchor-OTR restaurant and above Zula, a bistro and wine bar slated to open soon.

“We moved our offices down here because we’re invested in the city,” Deck says. “We didn’t have a central office, so we thought, ‘Hey what better place than to put our offices down in OTR, and support the whole area and movement.’”

Just across downtown, Igby’s represents 4EG’s collaboration with Core Resources, Beck Architecture and 3CDC. Think its name sounds mysterious? That’s the point.

“We called it Igby’s because we really wanted to come up with a name that didn’t really give you any idea of what the bar would be before you walked in,” Deck says
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“We’re really designing this bar around good beer, and good wine and good craft, fresh cocktails,” Deck says.

Open Monday through Saturday, Igby’s weekends ramp up the energy by opening its second and third floor open up and featuring a DJ.

The space itself is huge—approximately 7,500 square feet. The Civil War era building posed challenges, but developers persevered through massive restoration work to create a wood-filled, modern and hyper-stylized space. Igby’s atrium features balconies around each level so that patrons can look up or down onto the other floors. Igby’s also has an outdoor patio with a lounge.

Cincinnati Chef Lauren Brown has a five-item menu, featuring oysters, sodabread and cheese and even seasonal salads, that is served from 4 to 10 pm. “It’s really meant to accompany people coming in and having some drinks,” Deck says. “It’s all very high-quality and fresh, and everything we can source locally, we try to source locally. It’s hard to source West Coast oysters locally, though.”

All of the juices for the extensive cocktail list are also fresh. Mixologist Brian Van Flandern from New York created the craft cocktail menu, which includes the bourbon-tinged Black Cherry Sling (with a kick of nutmeg), the Apple Toddler, which has Gerber Apple baby food in it, and locally themed drinks like RedsRum and Naked in Newport. Igby’s has 16 beers on tap, including craft beers, imported bottles and cans.

By Stephanie Kitchens
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