Holcomb at work at Knee High Stocking Co.

Gregg Holcomb, previously a fixture at Knee High Stocking Co., is taking over the former Five Fish Bistro space on Broadway and opening his own place.  As you’d expect, he’s planning a craft cocktail menu, and some housemade elements like infusions and tinctures.

Here’s what you probably weren’t expecting: His place will be called Witness and is inspired by churches of the South—his mom hails from New Orleans, his dad from North Carolina. The church appreciation Holcomb acquired himself.

It's not church themed in a “crosses hanging from the ceiling” sort of way. Holcomb says he doesn’t want to be sacrilegious, or hokey and themey (there will be no confessional booth). But he does want to recreate the feeling of coming together, and being united by a common set of beliefs. In this case, those beliefs center on good drinks. He’s envisioning tall and narrow, backlit windows along the side walls, ivory walls and dark wood like you’d see in a Southern church. And a cocktail that pays tribute to fiery 18th-century preacher and sermon master Jonathan Edwards.

You don’t spend four years at a bar like Knee High (and before that, Chez Gaudy) and not have some serious cocktail acumen. But Holcomb promises a mix of “serious” libations and more fun, accessible ones. How fun? Well, he’s buying a blender and has one drinks on the works that involves peanut butter, bourbon, and ice cream. Holcomb says his spot will also be big on hospitality, which he pretty much radiated when behind the bar at Knee High.

The food menu is still in the works, but it has Southern leanings, too like a chicken and waffle with bourbon sauce, or a pulled pork slider that reflects Holcomb’s devotion to Carolina-style barbecue with a mustardy mop sauce.

Holcomb and his wife have lived near Broadway for 14 years, so he jumped on the former Five Fish Bistro space at 410 Broadway E when it became available. He has a bit of work in store to transform the (very bright, very fast casual) space into a dimly lit watering hole. But he has set a very bold goal—be open by PrideFest the last weekend in June.

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