You’re out with friends. The weather’s warm, the drinks are cold and the company is perfect. As the evening winds down, it’s a bit hard to leave, each person wondering when such magic will happen again. Perhaps one even offhandedly suggests opening a place, just for the gang, and eventually for anyone else who wishes to join the fold.

For a group of friends in the Highlands, that idea became a reality back in April – a big reality, complete with wood paneling, chandeliers, live piano music and a happy crowd with which to sing along. To reflect those ingredients and the inclusiveness of the neighborhood, they named their place Mixer.

“A bunch of us in the group bought the building and then completely gutted and renovated the place,” says Curtis Hawkes, who co-owns the Bardstown Road piano and video bar along with David Bartley, Trey Heil and other investors.  Although the group enlisted professional architectural help to design the structure – which in the last decade was home to a consignment store and a longtime antique shop – the spirit of Mixer is the brainchild of its owners. “We came up with the look,” says Hawkes, who helped give the old building a bit of TLC with his do-it-yourself efforts. “I built the bar and the drink bar that goes along the window.”

Hawkes, Bartley and Heil have all run their own business enterprises; In fact, two original investors, Jim Pfeiffer and Larry Mitchell, owned and operated a downtown club, The Annex, back in the early ‘90s. With their combined savvy, Mixer’s partners have seen their corner bar become more or less an instant success, with crowds spilling out to the sidewalk on warm evenings.