Representatives of the Copper Still Entertainment Group appeared before Homewood trustees Tuesday, April 26, to request a liquor license for a martini bar and speakeasy they plan to develop at Dixie Highway and Ridge Road.
David and Dana McDermott of Flossmoor and Christina D’Ambrosio of Oak Forest described plans for the establishment, which will be located in the former home of Global Fusion. Dana McDermott and D’Ambrosio are the owners of the business. D’Ambrosio currently runs the Copper Still in Crestwood, which is affiliated with Mid-Oak Distillery, also of Crestwood.
David McDermott described the vision for the martini bar as a hip, upscale establishment featuring specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The west half of the space will include a bar, and the east side will include seating and will host occasional martini-making classes.
“This is going to draw some additional business into Homewood,” David McDermott said.
D’Ambrosio said the Crestwood location gets people coming from as far away as Indiana and downtown Chicago to attend martini classes.
Under the Copper Still, in the building’s basement, plans call for a Prohibition-era speakeasy called The Blind Tiger.
“You’re basically walking through a portal — you’re walking right into the 1920s,” McDermott said. Staff will dress in styles that evoke the period, and he said there would be special theme nights in which patrons would be invited to get into the spirit of things with costumes of their own.
The speakeasy will also have historical touches that help patrons learn about the period, he said.
And it will also feature live music, including period jazz, with performances by local and area musicians.
“Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington … actually got their starts in speakeasies,” McDermott said, referring to two iconic pioneers of jazz.
He said they also hope to complement the light food offered by the Copper Still with opportunities for local restaurants to showcase their menu offerings.
Trustees expressed support for the project.
“I think my favorite part of this is the way you’re going to be reaching out to different parts of the community,” said Trustee Anne Colton, noting the plans to connect with local restaurants and musicians. “There’s a ton of really talented jazz musicians who live in Homewood who would love to have a place to play.”
Trustee Karen Washington said she was impressed with the efforts to provide information about history.
“It’s not often that I see a place of entertainment it’s also offering an educational aspect. I think that’s good,” she said.
Village President Richard Hofeld said the project fits well with the village’s economic development plan.
“This is exactly what we’re trying to do for our downtown, bring life to our downtown and provide people more choices,” he said.
The board of trustees directed village staff to prepare a license for consideration at its next regular meeting, May 10.
Finance Director Dennis Bubenik said a new license class would have to be created, probably combining elements of Class 1 and Class 14.
Class 1 is a general license that “permits the retail sale of any alcoholic liquor in the original package for off-premises consumption and also the sale of any alcoholic liquor for on-premises consumption, either at a counter or bar or at tables, with or without meals.”
Class 14 authorizes ” retail sale of craft, microbrew, or imported beer; select or fine wines; and single malt scotch whiskey in original packaging for off-premises consumption” and “also allows for on-premises consumption of products available on premises for retail sale.”
In other liquor-license business, trustees approved the renewal of licenses for nine local businesses for outdoor sales of alcholic beverages:
- Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar, 17510 Halsted St.,
- Calumet Country Club, 175th Street at Western Avenue,
- Chipotle Mexican Grill, 17700 Halsted St.,
- Cilantro, 18755 Dixie Highway,
- Cottage on Dixie, 18849 Dixie Highway,
- Fifth Quarter, 18105 Dixie Highway,
- Grady’s Grille, 18147 Harwood Ave.,
- Lassens Sports Bar & Grill, 2131 183rd St.,
- Ridgewood Tap, 2059 Ridge Road.
The licenses will be in effect from May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017.