Beauty Bar | Bite Cafe | Empty Bottle | Empty Bottle Presents | Dusek’s | Longman & Eagle | MONEYGUN | Punch House | Revival Food Hall | Saint Lou's Assembly | Tack Room | The Ruin Daily | Thalia Hall | The Promontory
A Chicagoland native, Bruce Finkelman’s celebrated path in hospitality began as a graduate of the University of Missouri’s inaugural Food and Beverage program. Working his way through school at Columbia’s storied Blue Note music club, he found a home for his love of music.
Returning to Chicago and he landed a job with Hyatt Hotels Corp but was stifled by the big-box corporate mentality and he decided to head out on his own. A late night drive through Ukrainian Village would foreshadow the launch of the Empty Bottle. Described by Finkelman as a “cat-ridden hole-in-the-wall,” musical acts from all over the globe were welcomed as Chicago’s music scene blossomed. Two decades later, it is the only Chicago venue to make Rolling Stone magazine’s "20 Best Rock Clubs."
Bruce then went on to launch joint ventures Bite Café and Beauty Bar before opening doors to Logan Square’s Longman & Eagle in 2010. Named a ‘Best New Restaurant in America’ by both GQ and Esquire magazines, Longman & Eagle is nationally recognized for its standout menu with a focus on seasonally driven cuisine and bourbon.
Finkelman’s manifold restaurant concepts are a function of his evolving palate. While bourbon took center stage at Longman & Eagle, and beer became the focus for Dusek’s, live music has always remained a relative constant in Bruce’s pursuits. Finkelman attributes his collection of diverse music venues to his love of live performances. “Create a place where you would want to be, and there are sure to be some others who will like it as well.” He spends what free time he has with his wife and daughter, perusing galleries and restaurants, discovering Chicago’s unique architectural history and neighborhoods, hopelessly rooting for its hometown football team and relaxing at home.
Dusek’s | Longman & Eagle | MONEYGUN | Punch House | Saint Lou's Assembly | SPACE | Tack Room | Thalia Hall | The Promontory
Craig Golden is the President of Blue Star Properties, a Chicago based commercial real estate company known for the acquisition and revitalization of urban properties. Before establishing Blue Star, Craig co-founded Sterling Bay Companies in 1986 with a high school friend. For over 20 years, they bought and redeveloped numerous properties, focusing on Chicago commercial opportunities in need of extensive rehab and redesign. Launching Blue Star allowed Craig to pursue a wider range of projects, utilizing his real estate knowledge and experience. Passionate for redeveloping older structures to fit the modern workplace, His portfolio currently contains over two million square feet of commercial space and he continues to seek new and exciting projects.
Having begun his post college life playing in bands, and after a number of financially unrewarding years, Craig learned the construction business out of necessity. The former musician also likes a good meal. Through his real estate endeavors Craig has been able to incorporate his love for music and dining into his projects wherever he can. In what can only be described as a stroke of luck he began partnering with local club-owner and music maven Bruce Finkelman. The two formed the company 16 On Center and almost a decade later, they have opened numerous restaurants and music venues in and around Chicago.
Craig is married with three wonderful children and lives in Evanston, Illinois.
The Empty Bottle – 1992
Starting out as a cat-ridden hole-in-the-wall bar in Ukrainian Village, this bar and music venue features shows 7 nights a week. The kind of place where you could get any one of nine beers for a buck-fifty or less, play pool for 50 cents, and find everything from Monster Magnet to Bill Monroe on the jukebox. It’s been anything but empty these last 20+ years, thanks to the same low prices, lack of attitude, and dedicated regulars that made the original bar such a success.
Bite Café – 1992
Out of necessity for a good square meal in this emerging community, Bite Café was born. A modern neighborhood diner that began as the new market to table movement began to take form in this artist enclave. Constantly evolving through the years with a number of talented young chefs, Bite Café continues to offer its customers creative comfort food, in a friendly neighborhood environment.
Empty Bottle Presents – 2004
EBP began as a program to host music and culture events outside the four walls of the Bottle itself. From Do Division to West Fest to Beyond The Gate at Bohemian National Cemetery, EBP brings entertainment in a variety spaces.
Space – 2008
Since opening its doors, SPACE has brought thousands of world class performances to Evanston audiences. With a rustic and warm ambiance and state-of-the-art technology the venue has become a favorite amongst musicians and music fans of all ages. SPACE doesn’t fit standard labels such as “jazz club” or “rock club.” It is a place where music fanatics can get closer to their favorite music and have a uniquely intimate and memorable experience.
Beauty Bar – 2011
Beauty Bar joined forces with Bruce Finkelman and team to bring the hair “saloon” to the Windy City. The interior of BBCHI came from an immaculate late sixties shop in New Jersey. Named Chicago’s Best Non-Pretentious Dance Club, the space is a luxurious, swanky time capsule of big hair, pink nails and dry martinis.
Longman & Eagle – 2011
This modern take on an old Chicago inn is represented lovingly by ever-changing menus that are both adventurous and sublime, featuring items that exemplify passion for creative, flavorful and honest dishes offered at fair and reasonable prices. The team’s enthusiasm for drinking is evidenced by an extensive libations program. Offerings include an extensive bottled and draft beer list, seasonal craft cocktails, unusual spirits, and an unparalleled whiskey selection.
As a part of the inn homage, L&E has six rooms for overnight stay. The rooms vary in both price and size but aesthetics, comfort and function are manifest throughout.
Thalia Hall | Dusek’s | Punch House | Tack Room – 2013
Thalia existed as one of the most ornate public halls and theaters of its time and for over seven decades was a beacon of the Pilsen community. 16OC restored Thalia to its original charm and character to breathe life into this Chicago treasure. With Thalia’s epic stage on the top floor, the hall brings music, community, and artistic events to Pilsen once again.
On the ground floor, Dusek’s Board & Beer celebrates the enduring link between beer, food and hospitality. With a Michelin-starred menu and food-friendly beers on tap, the restaurant pays homage to Mr. Dusek, re-establishing the same neighborhood spirit to this corner where his family tavern once lived and breathed.
In a forgotten about corner of the property, in a space that once housed Dusek’s horses, you can now find a cozy cocktail bar known as Tack Room. With a simple but sophisticated cocktail menu, a view of Pilsen, patio seating, and a well-loved piano played Thursday– Saturday, it’s the kind of place you’ll stay all night.
Punch House, located in the basement, invites you to circle ‘round a bowl of punch and lose track of the time. Punch originated in the 17th century from British Merchant and Navy sailors, utilizing exotic fruits, spices, and teas made available by their journeys to India, these early intoxicologists unwittingly gave wellspring to the modern cocktail. With DJ’s every night, you can enjoy punch by the glass or the bowl and dance the night away.
The Promontory – 2015
Inspired by the fire pit council rings at Promontory Point, this neighborhood destination’s restaurant & bar are designed around a brick hearth. The cocktail program focuses on modern twists on classic cocktails and the wine program highlights historically significant wine regions and forgotten grape varieties, giving the list a unique character. Just as the restaurant pays tribute to the neighborhood’s beloved Promontory Point, the upstairs venue honors Hyde Park’s musical legacy. With its modern design, crisp acoustics, and exciting music programming, The Promontory is dedicated to celebrating the eras when spacious ballrooms and jumping jazz clubs made Chicago’s South Side the capital of American music.
Saint Lou’s Assembly | MONEYGUN – 2016
Saint Lou’s Assembly is a Midwestern take on a classic “Meat N Three”— a concept that’s traditionally found in the South. Lou smoked cigarettes, drove a Cadillac, and had a foul mouth. He owned a meat-packing place right around the corner. Loved his wife and kids, hated his neighbors, loved the Bears. Lou was a damn saint. Thus, Saint Lou’s Assembly is a tribute to the cafeterias that lined the West Loop of Chicago to serve the meatpacking workers’ lunch during that bygone era. The venue has a backyard patio featuring bleacher seating for 100, a Bocce ball court, and plenty of al fresco drinking options.
Next door, that MONEYGUN bar is the best neighbor Lou could ask for. A bar that is just a bar, MONEYGUN serves a cocktail list full-to-the-brim with all the classics you could ask for. Join the Dirty Thirty club by trying them all or show up for a Mondaygun Meltdown classic patty melt. At the end of a long day, pleasing you, pleases us.
Revival Food Hall – 2016
Revival Food Hall is an all-local dining concept spotlighting the best of Chicago’s acclaimed neighborhood culinary scene under one roof. The massive, 24,000 square foot marketplace is located in the heart of Chicago’s central business district, on the ground floor of The National – a restoration of a historic 1907 Daniel Burnham-designed 20-story building. This cornerstone of The Loop neighborhood opened in 2016, and boasts 15 fast-casual stalls featuring many of Chicago’s favorite neighborhood restaurants in a grab-and-go setting, plus a handful of all-new concepts debuting from several acclaimed Chicago chefs.
The Ruin Daily – 2017
The Ruin Daily is a neighborhood sandwich bar that creatively explores what could and should be between two slices of bread. We strive to create a fun and comfortable place for all friends to enjoy. The Ruin Daily serves breakfast, coffee, lunch and your post work unwindings. The Ruin offers quality products, at a great value. Life’s too short to eat bad sandwiches.