By Katie Emmons
Opening a bar anytime, especially for the first time, is difficult, but husband and wife Annie Williams Pierce and Luke Pierce, co-owners of Law Bird in the Brewery District, never imagined closing only four months after opening due to a pandemic. Fortunately that closing was temporary.
When Gov. Mike DeWine announced that bars and restaurants could sell alcohol for carryout almost a month after closing, Annie and Luke Pierce wasted no time figuring out how they could sell their cocktails to go.
“Once they legalized it, we basically started thinking about how we could adapt Law Bird into what we thought was a more appropriate business model for the time to make sure our staff and make sure our patrons were safe,” Luke said. “We basically asked ourselves ‘what would Law Bird look like if we morphed it into a 7-Eleven?’ and this is what we came up with.”
However, it took time and a lot of adjustments to get Law Bird where it is now. It was important to them to keep the Law Bird experience true to what they created when they opened and to their customers’ experience through creating a store space and packaging that matched their existing Law Bird designs.
One month after Gov. DeWine’s announcement, Law Bird reopened as a grab-and-go store. Four guests at a time can enter Law Bird to choose from their selection of snacks, wine, cocktails, and other alcoholic drinks. Guests can choose from around 12 different cocktails, with two to three featured drinks rotated weekly as well.
“The mentality behind our grab-and-go cocktail program is what we call ‘innovative classics,’” Annie said. “So, we take the template of classic cocktails—Manhattans, old fashioned, negroni, margarita, aviations, you name it—and we put the Law Bird twist on it, so there’s already going to be some frame of reference for our guests.”
When asked how the community response has been, Luke said, “overwhelmingly positive. A lot of our clientele is really happy that they can feel confident in the Law Bird experience but do it safely. People have been impressed by what we built here.”
Once they are allowed by the state and feel comfortable doing so, Annie and Luke plan to return Law Bird to its pre-pandemic glory, but that doesn’t mean they want to stop offering grab-and-go options forever.
“We might even think about recreating the shop somewhere else if that’s an option when it comes down the road,” Luke said. “We think this is a really cool concept, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility of actually trying to recreate somewhere more permanently.”
“There are definitely moments that still feel like Law Bird to our guests and regulars who had come in beforehand. We’re getting a lot of people who had never made it into the bar before, so this is their first Law Bird experience,” Annie said. “We want to make sure that it’s cohesive and it’s still joyful and fun and funky, and all the things that we prided ourselves on the bar being.”
Buoyed by the success of the grab-and-go model, the co-owners have a new addition to the Law Bird store: Boxwood Biscuit Company. As of Aug. 23, customers can purchase biscuits, biscuit sandwiches, and breakfast bowls on Saturdays and Sundays at Law Bird.
Law Bird is open Wednesday-Friday from 4 p.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. You can find their weekly menu and order to-go cocktails for pickup or delivery here.