Leaders at two of the city's best cocktail bars are moving on

Changes are coming soon to Curio at Harvest, one of the most influential—and some would argue, best—bars in the city.Its founder/co-owner and one of our past Tastemakers, Travis Owens, announced this week that today will be his last day behind the stick at Curio, which he opened in 2012 next to Harvest Pizzeria in German Village. Owens could not be reached to discuss his plans, but in a statement released on social media, he wrote:

“As the creator of Curio it is with mixed emotions that I am to inform our wonderful friends, family, and guests that this Friday will be my last time behind the Curio bar. It’s been an absolute pleasure to serve the community as well as an incredible honor to have been embraced by the wonderful people of Columbus. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for Curio wouldn’t have been anything if it hadn’t been for all who chose to frequent our little 30 seater and the talented and dedicated staff I had the pleasure of working with. Please stop in this weekend so I may thank you in person. Kindest regards, Travis”

Alex Chien, most recently the bar manager at Watershed Kitchen & Bar, also announced on social media that he’s headed to New York for a job as national brand ambassador with Bombay gins. After bartending for owner Seth Laufman at Blind Lady Tavern, Chien led Watershed’s bar program to a furious start when the restaurant opened last year. You can catch Chien for the last time behind a Columbus bar during the All Due Respect cocktail club pop-up at Oddfellows Liquor Bar. Toast him starting at 8 p.m.

And in case you missed it, I sat down recently with ThisWeek Community News for another episode of “The Great Food Debate” podcast. The theme: cocktails. It’s Friday and almost happy hour, so here are some ideas on where to head for a libation.