Earlier in the month a sign went up in the Brasserie 54 by LM window announcing they were closed for vacation until July 19, but the Andersonville French restaurant will never reopen. The reason: Tim Casey, who owns The Drum and Monkey on Taylor Street, has been trying to both open a craft cocktail bar and get ahold of that space for five years. He finally got his wish.
Owner Nicole Quaisser finally admitted today that both Brasserie 54 and the upstairs sister concept, L'etage, are shuttered for good, cemented by Casey's pitch. He'll turn the two-floor space into The Brixton, hopefully in time for an early September opening.
In addition to craft cocktails and wine, The Brixton will also serve "upscale wine bar food" and "high end bar snacks." He hopes to have a chef in place by the end of the week. The decor will change but the layout will not, accounting for the quick turnaround.
He believes the Andersonville demographic is perfect for The Brixton. "Everything (in Andersonville) has gone in one direction—craft beer and sandwiches," he says.The Drum & Monkey is known for a more raucous college atmosphere due to its close proximity to UIC. But it originally wasn't meant to be that way, Casey says. When he opened it five years ago it was also supposed to be a craft cocktail lounge, only morphing it to adapt to the younger demographic.
Quaisser, who will stay on as a silent partner, believes the "emphasis on a bar more than food" will be better for the neighborhood. She says she will focus on Troquet, her approachable French concept in North Center. Brasserie by LM will also remain open.
· All Brasserie 54 by LM Coverage [-ECHI-]
· The Drum and Monkey [Official Site]