Brecksville’s 1811 Specialty Shop launches new bar

by Martin McConnell

Michael Prediger wears quite a few hats. An engineer and marketing manager for the B’Laster

Corporation by day, Prediger also runs 1811 Specialty Shop, 7730 Chippewa Road in Brecksville, along with his wife Amanda Kaye.

At the beginning of June, Prediger took the reins in the back bar room at 1811.

Prediger promises good vibes and even better drinks, but outside of that, the back room is a relatively flexible experience. With a rotating selection of seasonal drinks, the bar is always offering something new, he said.

“I’ve always really wanted to own a cocktail bar,” Prediger said. “I just love cocktails. I love the science of it, it’s just a lot of fun. We just really thought this concept would work well here for people that, you know, wanted to come in, just have a drink, maybe shop a little bit.”

As an engineer, Prediger brings both creativity and science to mixed drinks. Using only fresh ingredients, house-made syrups and top-shelf liquor, the back room at 1811 is a monument to his love of the cocktail art.

“We use no mixers. None of that stuff,” he said. “All of our cocktails are made with just the utmost care that we possibly can because we’re just passionate about it. I’ve had a lot of bad cocktails, and I would never serve any of my guests a bad cocktail.”

While not confirmed for the menu yet, he gave a preview of a possible drink for the coming months: a bourbon bananas foster cocktail.

“Right now, we have six specialty cocktails on the menu that are going to rotate seasonally,” he said. “For a sneak peek, this is a bourbon banana foster. It’s really good bourbon, banana liqueur from Spain and we use a little Licor 43.”

The drink, still in the experimental stage, also includes a bruleed banana slice as garnish, Prediger said.

Prediger explained that he and his wife spent a lot of time traveling across Europe. Much like the home decor store which occupies the front of 1811, the back room hopes to emulate one of the small, cozy cafes that he took a liking to during his travels.

“What I really appreciate is those small intimate cafes that you get in Florence or, you know, Paris, or other cities like that,” he said. “The atmosphere is really relaxed. There’s no TVs. It’s really about [the ability to] come in, sit down, have a great drink in a really comfortable atmosphere.”

A man with a plan, Prediger has a long-term vision for what the 1811 bar can be, he said. Rather than focusing on local competition, he wants to dream bigger as the bar slowly grows into its final state.

“I think we’re focused right now on just making this the best cocktail bar we possibly can,” he said. “I have a three to five year vision that 1811 is the best cocktail bar in the midwest. I don’t view my competition as local. I think my competition is in Manhattan. That’s my goal.”

The back room bar at 1811 Specialty Shop is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. ∞

Photo: Michael Prediger promises good vibes and even better drinks at his new cocktail bar located inside 1811 Specialty Shop on Chippewa Road. Photo by M. McConnell.