When you step inside The Revel Room, it will be hard to imagine that it was Empire Liquors less then three months ago. Designer Kevin Heisner, along with partner Matt Eisler and the team behind Five Star Bar have transformed it from a nightclub space into a classy neighborhood bar with a worn-in Victorian feel. Heisner was inspired by recent trips to London and France, saying much of it has an English pub feel. Eisler describes at as a "hodgepodge with thought behind it."
Red vinyl booths line much of the space, with large circular ones in front and small two-seaters in the back. In the far rear is a room that feels like a library, only with wood blocks instead of books.
Many of the design pieces are found items, such as repurposed light fixtures and a fox head that sits above a gated doorway that divides the rooms. The windows, which used to be blacked out when Empire was in business, now let in some light and views of bustling Milwaukee Avenue. Heisner replaced the old Empire sign with an Old Style one.
When workers removed the wallpaper they found blotted plaster, which they decided to keep. Exposed brick and wood paneling cover the rest of the walls, many of which are lined with Victorian-esque oil paintings. Even the bathrooms conform to the new aesthetic, which Eisler calls a "shabby Parisian look."
The whole place is now designed to be conducive to cocktailing and conversation. "We're old men now," Eisler says. "We need a place where we can sit and talk."
· Empire Liquors to Shutter on Saturday [-ECHI-]
· Craft Cocktails, Canned Beer, and Kevin Heisner's Design Coming to the Empire Liquors Space [-ECHI-]
· All Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner Coverage [-ECHI-]
· The Revel Room [Official Site]