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New bar to bring New York City to Bowling Green

Molly Dobberstein

Staci Henderson first visited New York when she was 17 years old and fell in love with the city. Now, she is bringing “The Big Apple” to downtown Bowling Green in the form of a bar. 

Henderson’s creation, Metro, is set to open this April at 1044 State Street. The bar will feature five boroughs of New York and numerous drinks that will contain one or several of the five major spirits, which are vodka, gin, rum, whiskey and tequila.  

“I wanted to diversify the menu so that it’s more likely that people will find something they like,” Henderson said and added that the drinks will have different flavor profiles.  

Some drinks will include word plays on the names of neighborhoods within the five boroughs. Queens, for example, is home to “New York’s bigger and better Chinatown” called Flushing, according to Melia Robinson for Business Insider. Inspired by Flushing, Queens, Metro’s menu will feature a “Blushing, Queens,” Henderson said.  

Some cocktails will be inspired by notable people from New York, while others, Henderson said, will be based on fictional characters, like Cookie Monster. Drinks with Taylor Swift references will also be on the menu.  

In addition to alcoholic beverages, Metro will also have a selection of mocktails. Henderson said she sees mocktails as an important part of the menu for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy, fertility and mood in general.  

“Sometimes I’m not in the mood to drink, but I’m still in the mood to go and sit in a bar and talk to people, be around my friends,” Henderson said. “In a situation like that, for the only options to be juice or soda – it kind of sucks.”  

Still, despite serving mocktails, at least for now, Metro will only be open to those who are 21 years old or older, Henderson said.  

The idea of opening a New York-themed bar came to Henderson two and a half years ago on an otherwise uneventful night. She said she was struggling to fall asleep and thinking about her life and bartending. Then, she decided to open the notes app on her phone and jot down some ideas.  

“I just started thinking about more and more different New York-themed cocktail ideas, different events that I can have, and it just spiraled into our idea. I’m pretty sure that I came up with calling it Metro about the same night,” Henderson said. “It was something that initially I was doing because I couldn’t fall asleep and then it turned into ‘I don’t want to go to sleep because I really liked this idea.’” 

Given its size of approximately 600 square feet, Henderson said, the bar will be a small space with “a lot less room for people to get away with things that they’re not supposed to be doing.” Instead, Henderson wants Metro to be a “cool laid-back place,” where people can lounge, talk and “not have to worry about who’s standing behind them.” 

“Everything that I am doing on the interior of the bar with the concept in general, the drinks, with the themed nights – all of this stuff is very curated and something that I think about really hard,” Henderson said.  

Right now, Henderson also works as a bartender at Alley Pub & Pizza. Her typical day consists of sleeping in, getting ready for work, catching up with friends and family, and “seeing the regulars.” On her non-bartending days, Henderson works towards getting Metro ready for the opening. Sometimes, she said, this includes going to Home Depot,  making graphics, or doing interviews.  

Henderson’s aversion to routine is what attracted her to bartending in the first place.  

“One of the reasons why I’ve done so well bartending and in the bar industry is because while it’s the same tasks every day, it’s something totally different every single time,” Henderson said. “Everything depends on who walks through the door, what I’m having to make, if there’s a party coming in, if somebody is being ridiculous, if nobody’s being ridiculous.” 

Finish Line Sports Bar and Grill was the first place where Henderson worked behind the bar. She said she had no previous experience in the service industry but needed a job because she was planning to leave WKU, where she was majoring in journalism, for “an indefinite break.”  

Henderson plans to return to campus and classes sometime in the future, although this time, she intends to study advertising instead of journalism.  

Prior to WKU, Henderson pursued a summer program with Columbia University. There, in New York, she had to attend four hours of classes every day but was free to roam the city in her free time, which is exactly what she did along with her friends. Henderson said she has many memories from that summer, some of which include going to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to see the Cincinnati Orchestra, as well as watching Aladdin, her first Broadway show.  

Henderson said she has returned to New York many times since that summer. Whenever she is traveling outside the country, she likes to book a long enough layover in the city for her to be able to leave the airport and explore. With Metro, she said she is hoping to go to New York at least twice a year – once in warmer weather and once in colder temperatures – in order to continue getting inspiration.  

Previously, the building where Metro will be located used to be home to Tattoo Heartland. Henderson said she found out about the tattoo shop closing from her boyfriend and instantly decided to figure out who owned the building, and contacted the landlord within six days.. Henderson said so far everything in the process has been “perfect or almost perfect.” The biggest challenge she has had to overcome up to date was finding general liability and liquor liability insurance. First, she said she was “cold calling” different insurance companies but had no luck, which to her was “nerve-wracking.” Then, she reached out to a friend and, following their recommendation, found someone who offered her insurance.  

The lesson that Henderson said she has had to learn repeatedly throughout her life and the process of opening Metro is that it is okay to ask for help. She said she reminds herself to ask for help when she needs it and is excited to see everyone who has supported her on her journey inside Metro.   

News reporter Mariia Novoselia can be reached at [email protected]


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