Bravery Chef Hall has found its bar star. The soon-to-open downtown food hall has selected David Cedeno (known on social media as David Daquiri) to be the first tenant of its innovative bar incubator concept.
Like the six restaurants that will occupy the space, the bar provides an up-and-coming talent with the opportunity to have the experience of running his own bar without all of the permitting hassles of opening a place from scratch. Bravery partner Anh Mai tells CultureMap that his long relationship with Cedeno helped the bartender emerge as the right fit for the space.
“He’s worked for me in the past [at Prohibition] so I know he’s a passionate and knowledgeable bartender who has what it takes to take the next step,” Mai says. “I like how it’s just a simple, local bar. We wanted to show that anyone can start a business. You don’t need a crazy idea.”
Cedeno’s cocktail will be called Lockwood Station, after the his stop on the METRORail Green Line. Cedeno tells CultureMap that the experience of taking the train from the East End to downtown helped inspire his concept.
“Mid-century modern is one of the things I wanted to tap into. As I researched it, the idea came to Grand Central Station, that ‘50s look, people going to work in hats,” Cedeno says. “That’s the idea that ended up clicking . . . Something just popped into my head. It was, why not? I just started exploring it and I went with it.”
While downtown offers plenty of options for cocktails, Cedeno says he thinks Bravery’s unique service style will help set him apart. Instead of waiters acting as an intermediary between diners and the kitchen, customers will be served directly by the people who cook their food. The unique service style should lure patrons. While the opening menu will focus on mid-century classics — and yes, it will include “David’s daquiri” — Cedeno says he also hopes to create drinks that pair with specific dishes at each of Bravery’s six restaurants.
Cedeno brings extensive experience to the role. Most recently, he developed Brasil’s cocktail program when the beloved Montrose cafe added spirits to its beer and wine offerings. Prior to that, he worked at Prohibition, where he developed an appreciation for the camaraderie that exists among downtown’s bars.
“There’s a community [in downtown], especially three years ago it wasn’t as popular,” he says. “We all supported one another. There’s a really good bar community, and I love being part of that.”
Lockwood Station will keep things simple when it comes to its drinks. Cedeno says he want to utilize time saving techniques such as draft cocktails and consolidating spirits prior to service. The goal is to help get patrons their drinks as quickly as possible.
Part of the premise of the incubator setup is that Lockwood Station will only exist for a year before Bravery’s owners find a new tenant for the bar. Cedeno says he’s already thinking about what a permanent home for the bar might be like.
“I’ve thought about where in town it would be. I can only think of the East End as the best place for it. I want it to be comfortable, hospitable, and elegant,” he says. “I like to go to a nice place that’s comfortable. I don’t have to dress up, but if I dress up I don’t feel out of place.”