COLUMBUS — Manager Cory Schaefer was pleased with the crowds last weekend during the grand opening of Whiskey Sands Bar and Grill.
And he doesn’t see any reason why this success can’t be sustained.
Schaefer believes the rebranded eatery and watering hole inside the New World Inn and Conference Center, 265 33rd Ave., can be one of the city’s top entertainment and dining destinations.
The business, formerly known as Legends, recently underwent renovations that opened up the space and gave it a fresh look.
There is new flooring and paint and more than a dozen televisions — including a 120-inch screen — now are positioned throughout the two rooms.
And that’s just the beginning.
Schaefer, who previously owned Playmakers in Lincoln, called this work the “pre-remodel.”
The entire area will be renovated as part of the final step in a $3 million project at the hotel that also includes upgrades to the rooms, exterior and meeting spaces.
Schaefer booked the Kris Lager Band for the grand opening, and he plans to continue bringing live music to the bar on a regular basis.
“We’re going to do a lot of entertainment here,” he said.
A Halloween party with a DJ is scheduled for next weekend, and SideStep will play there on New Year’s Eve.
There also are pool leagues, and customers almost always will find sports on the TVs, Schaefer said.
But it’s not all about entertainment at Whiskey Sands Bar and Grill.
Schaefer said they also made improvements to the food and drinks offered there.
He describes the revamped menu as high-scale bar food, which includes items such as the Tail Race catfish burger, a braised pork and ham Cuban sandwich and Philly steak sandwich with a signature cream cheese spread.
The restaurant uses only 100 percent Angus beef and most of the sauces are made in-house, according to Schaefer.
“I really think the food’s going to be a hit once people know about it,” he said.
The drink list also has an up-scale look to it.
There’s a house margarita, Whiskey Sands Rye Manhattan, Lazy River Lemon Drop and the River Rat, which combines Crown Royal and Baileys Irish Cream.
Schaefer said the bar soon will be offering beer in a glass boot — think “Das Boot” from the movie “Beerfest.”
Whiskey Sands Bar and Grill opens at 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 3 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. Saturdays. The bar is open until 1 a.m. each night and closed on Sundays.
Schaefer said the business likely will add more lunchtime hours in the near future.