Venue 45 set to open this week

THREE RIVERS – The highly anticipated grand opening of downtown Three Rivers’ newest attraction, Venue 45, has finally arrived.
The stylish cocktail bar will open its doors to the public on Thursday, Feb. 21 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. in downtown Three Rivers. Venue 45 will serve beer, wine, cocktails and snacks, bringing an elegant five-star atmosphere to Three Rivers’ Main Street.
The aptly named Rivers family transformed the interior, while preserving the historic elements of the building located at 45 N. Main St. with the original wooden floor panels and tin ceiling intact. After spending nearly eight years in Denver, General Manager John Rivers III has brought his education in high-end restaurants back home to open Venue 45 with his parents, co-owner John Rivers II and Event Coordinator Sherri Rivers.
“I found a love for wine, cocktails, beer, and food,” John Rivers III said. “I was really fortunate to work with a lot of chefs that worked at a high-level, and was very lucky to fall into that scene while it was happening in Denver.”
Venue 45 will offer non-traditional cocktail recipes, including “Midnight on Main St.” and “Is it Spring yet?” with many Michigan-based products, including liquor from Long Road Distilleries in Grand Rapids. A selection of Michigan-based beer will also be on the menu, such as cider from Corey Lake Orchards, and brews from Arcadia Brewery and Short’s Brewing Company.
“We are lucky to have access to a wide-variety of cocktail ingredients, that I think a lot of places don’t have necessarily,” John Rivers III said.
In order to keep the restaurant “up-to-date” and to avoid being “stuck in a rut,” Venue 45 plans to incorporate out-of-town chefs in the kitchen one Saturday per month. John Rivers III said he has spoken with culinary artists in Colorado, as well as others outside of the Three Rivers area that have shown interest in participating, some of whom have expertise in ethnic cuisine and vegetarian assortments.
“We wanted to bring new food in, new influence from outside to keep it fresh in here,” he said.
Venue 45 will continue to evolve, and “will not always be a cocktail lounge.” Eventually, a full-time chef will offer small plate dishes, and John Rivers III said the idea of being open more often has been discussed.
“The main thing that is going to set us apart is it’s always going to be fresh, new, and interesting here,” he said.
Following the grand opening Thursday, Venue 45 will be open on Friday from 5-11 p.m., and will hosting a St. Joseph County Bar Association Event from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, with the cocktail lounge remaining open until 11 p.m. following the event.
Venue 45 will be open consistently every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Samantha May can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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