Once upon a time, when a Starbucks moved into a neighborhood, it signaled change was afoot. These days, it looks like the opening of an upscale mixology bar can be a sign of good things coming, too. Will this be the case when the Barrelhouse Flat opens up in October in Lincoln Park? There's a good chance it will.
The new establishment, being opened by former Violet Hour bartender Stephen Cole, promises to deliver artisanal punches and classic cocktails in a beautiful setting. The drink program will also feature housemade juices, bitters and sodas made from locally sourced ingredients. And while the punch program will be available via glass or larger bowls to share, the bar will also have an extensive beer and wine program.
The Barrelhouse Flat, named for a 1930s blues song of the same name by singer Mary Johnson, will evoke a pre-Prohibition vibe through design created by LA-based team Patry + Kline. The space, set on the first two floors of an 1892 building, will feature a vintage jukebox playing rare blues and ragtime vinyl. The first floor will have an open kitchen (yes, they'll have small plates and other snacks, but specific info won't be available for a few weeks), exposed brick, wood-paneled walls and a long bar. Upstairs, a lounge will boast cozy couches and chairs, a pool table, fireplace and a room to host private parties for up to 40.
So why this old-timey feel in a youthful 'hood? "Punch actually predates cocktails," Cole said in a press release. "It has been around for over 300 years and we will be using some very old recipes as guidelines to mix up batches." A couple of the punch options you can expect to see include the Golden Fleece punch (gin, green tea, lemon peel and juice, pineapple syrup and Drambuie liqueur) and the Fish House punch (Jamaican rum, Cognac, peach brandy, lemon juice and sugar). Cocktails, which will range between $8 and $12, will fall into four categories: stirred, swizzled, bubbles and egg.
And unlike a line in the song ("police in Chicago, just won't let me be / They try to find my beer and whiskey everywhere I hide it!"), the booze will flow and you won't have to worry about getting busted by the cops. That is unless you drink too much and cause a ruckus, but then that's all on you.
· The Barrelhouse Flat [website forthcoming]
· Elixir, a New Mixology Lounge, Opening This Weekend [~EChi~]
[Photo: Stephen Cole]