Dustin Drankiewicz (MONEYGUN) knows a thing or two about bars. That’s why he wasn’t surprised by some of the frustration from regulars at the Two Way Lounge after news broke that their dive was closing to make room for Deadbolt. That’s the bar project from Drankiewicz and The Furious Spoon team, next to the ramen shop’s Logan Square location. Drankiewicz said they’re aiming for a mid-February opening.
The Two Way’s two entrances (one on Milwaukee and the other on Fullerton) have been closed since August. But before the shutter and when crews began work transforming the Two Way into Deadbolt, Drankiewicz hung out with the dive’s regulars and chatted with them at the bar over drinks. He said that input has affected his team’s plans. The Two Way carried a sordid history stretching for about 50 years, and some regulars feared that changes would just amount to gentrification. But at the same time, the bar’s wild reputation—which came with criminal activity—provided a good base to start anew.
“I was prepared for people to be upset,” Drankiewicz said. “They lost their watering hole.”
Deadbolt won’t be a craft cocktail bar to further alienate regulars, many of who have moved on to other bars during Two Way’s shutter. Deadbolt’s bartenders will still pour Old Style pitchers from taps, Drankiewicz said. He’s not ready to share the drink list just yet.
Envision a comfy space that’s not overly trendy. The bar’s layout will stay the same, but the biggest change is actually restoring the old bandstand area, a space that was repurposed in recent years and where musicians once performed. Drankiewicz foresees musicians playing in a cozy and intimate area. He says they’ll never charge a cover, but knowing ownership’s industry connections, ticketed events may happen once in a while if they draw the right act. The music will be diverse, something to keep people hyped and entertained the entire night.
The design pays homage to the bar’s history, but some things had to go as the old bar’s infrastructure was crumbling. They replaced the bar, as the old one was overridden with mold: “It was like a sponge,” Drankiewicz said. The pool table was removed to make room for the bandstand. There’s now room to dance if patrons feel the need. They’ve also restored the bar’s ceiling and replaced the booths.
Former owner Glenn Miller took over the Two Way after his mother’s death. He reluctantly kept the bar open to ensure regulars, many of them who he got to know while growing up, could continue patronizing the bar. Drankiewicz wants to attract a new generation of regulars to Deadbolt, but he also hopes old fans will give the new bar a chance. Post-dive makeovers are an emerging bar genre, and Deadbolt is riding the new wave.
“If I went to a spot for 10 years and then it disappeared for five months, I’d probably want to see what they did to my bar,” Drankiewicz said. You should be able to see what they did to Two Way in February.