"We wanted to make something that's universal to more people (than Cuvee)," Spot On Group owner Jim Pohl says of his new upscale bar, SHAY. "Less exclusive and more accessible."
Pohl is opening SHAY (222 W. Ontario St.) to the general public for the first time tonight. He stresses that this project is not a departure from the nightlife business, but it isn't a dark nightclub either, like his other spot Cuvee or the space's previous incarnation, Crescendo, was.
It still has some nightclub facets, however: though opening earlier than Cuvee, it still doesn't open until 9 p.m. It's closed Sundays through Tuesdays. There's bottle service.
But the space is much more open and lighter. Pohl's team gutted the former dark nightclub and installed full front windows. A front bar and lounge section with a fireplace sits behind those windows, where passerbys can see in and patrons can see out. Behind that section is a large circular bar that's surrounded by tables. There's also a DJ booth, but no dancefloor.
One facet that Pohl kept from Crescendo is a kitchen that was surprisingly part of the space already. Jeremy McDermott (Publican Quality Meats) is charged with creating and sustaining the food and beverage menus, which feature dishes ($9-16) that are interesting and trendy bar snacks rather than full meals. Cocktails run from $12-20.
In the end, Pohl envisions SHAY as a sister spot to Cuvee (which is about 50 feet away through a back exit)—somewhere chic yet inclusive where people can relax with cocktails and snacks before really going hard at the club. Check out what you can order below.