The former Roux House building on Third Street will get new life as a downtown whiskey and wine bar when it opens as Register Bar in mid-August.
Developer Rick Volland confirmed he and two partners—John Leatherwood and Trenton Wilson—signed a lease on the building together, filing as a business in late March.
The partners already have downtown ties: Volland and Wilson are two of the restaurateurs who in 2014 formed Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar, also downtown on North Boulevard. And Volland says the trio enjoyed going to Roux House.
“All three partners spent a lot of our lives here having a great time,” Volland says. “We want that back.”
Inside, full-service bars both upstairs and downstairs will offer a wide selection of whiskey and bourbon, as well as a rotating wine selection, Volland says, noting the developers plan to host events introducing people to new whiskies and wines on a regular basis.
Patrons will be able to rent out the upstairs area for private parties, he adds.
Like Roux House, the venue will also feature live music and a dance floor. However, food won’t be on the menu, a strategic move Volland hopes will encourage people to walk around and eat at one of the restaurants downtown.
“We are the after-party,” Volland says, noting the space will also undergo some renovations.
Restaurateur Ian Vaughn purchased The Roux House in 2016 and at the time planned to convert it into a gastropub called Repeal 33. At the same time, he bought Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar, rebranding it as Lava Cantina Downtown, and Schlittz & Giggles, which did not change its concept.
But Vaughn never made any changes to Roux House.
“We decided not to do Repeal when we were informed we could not do smoked meats, which was the entire concept,” Vaughn says. “I had no interest in doing anything other than that in the space, and therefore Rick took it from us to do his deal.”