Comfort Station Opens its Downstairs Speakeasy-Style Lounge

The Walnut Hills drinkery features juxtaposed dual themes in its upstairs and downstairs bars.

Photograph by Amy Elisabeth Spasoff

Comfort Station has officially debuted a new cocktail lounge on its basement level. Previously a Walnut Hills public bathing house, the bar’s upstairs/patio area was opened in June by Owner Stuart King, who also owns Over-the-Rhine’s nationally recognized craft cocktail bar Sundry and Vice, and General Manager Jack Keane.

The cozy, dimly lit downstairs space contrasts with the bright, foliage-filled nature of the main bar, which features an outdoor patio. The subterranean lounge is accessed through a separate door, which was once the 105-year-old building’s men’s entrance to its public facilities.

“Downstairs at Comfort Station we wanted to push the envelope and provide an interesting juxtaposition to the effortless quality of what’s happening upstairs,” Keane says. “The more intimate atmosphere allows us to get really technical and develop drinks that are both cerebral and thoughtful.”

Upon walking downstairs to the newly opened area, guests are greeted by a neon sign that reads “Sin Now, Pay Later,” which corresponds with the area’s vice-driven decor. The candlelit room showcases memorabilia like gambling machines, which were once regarded as taboo.

The lounge seats eight patrons for a more intimate experience, and the menu features several unique cocktails developed by Keane and the rest of the Comfort Station team. One example is Slow Play, a large-format cocktail served in a porthole infuser, which includes a seasonal list of ingredients. The current version is a modified daiquiri with rum, cognac, apple, white grape, mint, fennel, chile de árbol, and lemon peel.

Photograph by Amy Elisabeth Spasoff

Comfort Station’s downstairs lounge opens at 7 p.m., three hours later than the upstairs bar, and is only open Thursday through Saturday. The space is also available to book for private parties.

Comfort Station, 793 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills

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