A vision for a new bar by Toomer's Corner that began way back in the fall of 2016 is about to become a reality as the construction of Southeastern nears completion.
"It’s unbelievable and honestly surreal that it’s finally here," said Jon Hyink, co-owner of Quixotes, which will close after Southeastern is completed.
The concept and design of the bar, located on Magnolia Avenue next to Pieology, has changed multiple times over the past several years — the first iteration planned for a two-story bar with a third-floor event space. Hyink, co-owner Chris Godbold and Quixotes manager Dade Nunnally landed on the current concept and design after visiting multiple venues around the Southeast.
"We’ve been planning this out for probably close to three years now. We’ve taken a lot of trips around the Southeast and visited a lot of bars," said Hyink. "Not just the last three years, but the last 15 years we’ve been in business, we’ve been doing the same, always picking up things here and there, concepts we like, design options we like. We wanted to take the best parts of all those trips we’ve taken and bring them to one design.
"With all the trips we’ve taken to see these places across the Southeast, all the different bars, clubs, nightclubs, restaurants — it just kind of embodies not only those concepts but the feel of Southeastern football, the Southern charm, the Southern vibe."
Southeastern will feature a main floor with a 60-foot main pine bar, a pocket bar, a 25-foot ceiling, a pool table, a main stage for bands and DJs and a large outdoor patio area, with a kitchen in the back that will serve menu items like the hamburgers and nachos currently offered at Quixotes.
"We want it to feel like Quixotes. It can get crowded for sure, but at the same time it’s really relaxed," said Nunnally. "It’s a place they can feel comfortable hanging out in and mainly with other college students. I think that’s so important for people to be able to go out and even if they’re by themselves, they can just walk in and know that they’re going to see somebody that they know and be able to hang out. We still want to keep that vibe downstairs."
The main floor will be overlooked by a mezzanine level with its own separate entrance, and possibly a pool table, with the goal that it will cater more to the older local crowd.
"I think having those two separate spaces is going to be really something nobody else downtown has, to be able to appeal to not just college kids but more to older locals as well," said Nunnally.
The mezzanine level may also help meet the demand of the changing demographics in Auburn as it continues to grow, Hyink added.
"We’re touching 125,000 in the Auburn-Opelika area, and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down," he said. "Those aren’t just children that are moving in here — it’s young families; it’s young professionals, so we’re looking to that market as well."
There is no firm date yet when Southeastern will open, but Godbold said it will be ready to go when students get back for fall semester. Once contractor WB Construction, which Godbold said is doing a "fantastic job," pegs a date for the completion of construction, another date will also be set for a last day at Quixotes.
"We’re hoping not to be closed down for very long, like a week maybe just for training and moving," said Nunnally. "There will be a last day at Quixotes. We will all be sad at that, but also excited at the same time. I’ve been working there for 14 years since it opened. I met my wife there, so there will be moments, I’m sure."
And nothing has been finalized yet for the current Quixotes property, Godbold said.
"We’ve gotten so much interest in different directions," he said. "A lot of folks are interested in doing a really nice hotel there, and that seems to be a good fit for that area. But it’s still too early to pick a definitive direction."