It dubs itself an unapologetic cocktail bar creating craft beverages while having a great time. Friday night, Night Shift Cocktails makes a grand entrance onto the downtown Leesburg nightlife scene.

The cocktail bar is the brainchild of Richard Smith, concept founder and the manager of the establishment and formerly the manager at Sidebar Coffee. Owned by Nils and Olivia Schnibbe, it joins the couple’s cadre of eating and drinking establishments, including Schmidt’s, Sidebar and Sidebar Coffee in Leesburg, and More Better in Round Hill. 

Located above Sidebar, the cocktail lounge was designed by Colleen West from wldwest and captures the aesthetic Smith and his team are going for. 

At Night Shift, he said, you’ll find “dim lighting, incredible cocktails and bourbons, fresh juices, fresh ingredients, curated interiors, beautiful vermouths and aperitifs, an atmosphere you wish you could bottle up and take home with you, ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ by The Rolling Stones just blasting, and a staff that’s having the best time while creating the best drinks around.”

Inspiration came pre-COVID for Smith, who took a fortuitously timed trip to Charleston, SC, in February of last year. 

“I spent my time at every cocktail bar I could down there thinking ‘Why can’t we have this in Leesburg?’ So that’s what I decided to do, build out the cocktail bar that I knew was missing from downtown Leesburg,” he said. 

The cocktail lounge started as a concept in Sidebar Coffee, and then ran out of Sidebar’s carriage house. Last spring, it was set to move into the upstairs space just as COVID hit. 

For the Schnibbes, it’s just another opportunity to grow their restaurant family.

“We are always looking for unique opportunities to create spaces/experiences for our customers. We are very lucky to have such a creative team of amazing people around us. Never stop evolving,” Nils Schnibbe said.

Night Shift Cocktails, at 24 S. King St., is open from 4-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Once COVID restrictions are lifted, Schnibbe said he expects Night Shift to stay open until 2 a.m. on weekends.

It’s casual cocktails at Night Shift, the new late-night space in Leesburg’s historic district.