New Covington neighborhood bar, The Well, set to open this month

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Drink Well.

For The Well founders, Chase Daoud and Will Hodges, the name of their business was derived from a community’s ability to share a drink together. Hodges, a manager at Tin Roof in Cincinnati, is a seasoned veteran of the restaurant industry.

“I think we had over 100 names picked out and then we were slowly dwindling down,” Hodges said. “We wanted to be known as a place where you can come to have a good drink.”

The Well is located at a former butcher shop at 8 W. 7th St. in Covington. The founders are planning to open around the same time as the BLINK Lights and Arts Festival, which is Oct. 13 to 16. Photos of their renovations can be viewed on their Facebook page.

The Well is set to be a bar that’s similar to a neighborhood hang-out spot. Hodges said the outdoor patio space will be laid with astroturf and will feature a space to host live music.

Hodges and Daoud put a tree in a carved-out space in the middle of the astroturf patio, a unique feature that aims to add personality to the former concrete pad. Multiple large TVs will be hung on the exposed brick walls for patrons to watch sporting events. Firepits and comfortable chairs will enhance the outdoor experience.

“We’ve always wanted to do that neighborhood bar,” Hodges said. “Not a hole in the wall, but that place where everybody feels welcome. We are putting in enough TVs so you can watch a game. You can wake up early for Premier League. You can catch all the Bengals games and catch the Reds games.”

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Their outdoor kitchen is built inside a storage container, similar to the Covington Yard. Chef Mitch Arens, a respected barbeque pit master with experience cooking in New Orleans, will lead the kitchen.

On the inside, there will be more large TVs and a full bar. The second floor features private space that’s available for rent.

In March 2020, Hodges and Daoud were in the final stages of signing a lease with a landlord in Newport. Their plan was to open a restaurant featuring a Michelin star chef. According to Hodges, the plans for the restaurant fell through when the world shut down during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were going to have a spot in Newport and do a farm-to-table restaurant with a Michelin star chef. COVID shut that project down. Literally,” Hodges said. “We were going to sign the lease coming out of St. Patty’s Day weekend.”

Even though their initial plan fell through, Hodges said he felt “blessed.” The restaurant and service industry was devastated during the pandemic, and they would’ve been on the hook for the lease payment if their restaurant had failed.

In what turned out to be a blessing in disguise, the pandemic shutdown allowed Hodges and Daoud to regroup, seeking out other opportunities for commercial space in Covington. That’s when they discovered the empty location on W. 7th Street.

“We stumbled across this building in October of 2021,” Hodges said. “We ended up knowing the previous owners of the building, so we ended up purchasing the building.”

Hodges told LINK nky The Well isn’t looking to compete, but rather compliment the surrounding businesses such as Braxton Brewery, Hotel Covington, Bircus Brewing, Agave & Rye, McK’s BBQ, Ripple and The Hannaford.

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“We’re not there to compete,” Hodges said. “We’re there to enhance the area.”

Hodges doesn’t want The Well to be pigeon-holed as a sports bar, even though the business will try to capture a portion of that market.

For Hodges and Daoud, everyone is welcome at The Well.

“Honestly we’re two friends that wanted to create somewhere where people want to hang and have a good time,” Hodges said.

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