Charlies bar aims to bring good times to Third Ward
Dawn and Craig Bloomfield describe themselves as "professional bar hoppers" who dreamed of opening their own lounge. So, when the opportunity came along, the couple jumped at it. They plan to open their bar and restaurant, called Club Charlies, 320 E. Menomonee St., on April 15.
"Cross your fingers," says Dawn. "We're shooting to open for Gallery Night."
Club Charlies -- which Dawn hopes customers will refer to simply as "Charlies" -- will feature a nice, no-nonsense experience that's intended to appeal to people all of types, from the business crowd to MIAD students.
The drink menu will reflect this by offering a wide variety of spirits including beer, martinis and ice cream drinks. Charlies will also have three kinds of Point beer on tap at all times, along with Guinness, Miller and a few others, says Dawn.
Dawn spent time in Chicago and Manhattan bars researching the scenes there. She was excited by the popularity of old timey drinks like the brandy alexander and the side car, and hopes to mix up classic cocktails for Charlies customers.
Smoking will be permitted at Charlies.
Charlies will feature a simple food menu, with daily chalkboard specials and a Charlies burger that's hand-pattied and made from beef and sausage. The kitchen will open at 11 a.m. every day for lunch and stay open until late in the evening.
"Our food will be consistently good, but we see ourselves as a bar that serves food," says Dawn. "Not the other way around."
The space is about 2,000 sq. ft. -- with the capacity for 120 customers -- and is currently under construction by Briohn Builders. The Bloomfields signed the lease in November and started the renovation project in mid-January. Local artist Monika Essen designed the space and created a large art piece that serves as the centerpiece for the bar. Dawn says she plans to have gallery shows for future Gallery Nights.
"We'll always specialize in the art of cocktail making, of course," says Dawn.
The Bloomfields live in the Third Ward and hope Charlies will fill a niche for a casual, neighborhood lounge. Dawn is also a wedding / family photographer and Craig works in retail.
"We've been married for a long time, we don't have any kids, we love to go out and meet people, so opening a bar is perfect for us," says Dawn.
The bar's name comes from Dawn's grandfather, a Detroit-based bootlegger-turned-mechanic who owned his own repair shop and referred to most of his customers as "Charlie."
"If he liked you, he called you 'Charlie'," says Dawn. "It was a name of endearment. So that's how we're thinking of our customers: as a bunch of Charlies."
I went on their opening night and had an absolute blast! Great people, great bar, great atmosphere! I will definitely be back soon!
serversweetheart | April 9, 2009 at 2:09 p.m. (report)
A Barfly- I couldn't put it better myself. I enjoy cigarettes with my martinis after a difficult and exciting night at work, and so do MANY of my restaurant friends, and there are MANY of restaurant people in this city which has over 1500 restaurants, and most of them go out, spend money and tip well. We don't go places that don't allow smoking, so advertising whether or not smoking is permitted saves me a trip. Look forward to checking Charlie's out, opening on gallery night..... fantastic idea, good luck!
Sweet. With all these trendy restaurants/bars/clubs going non-smoking, I finally have a nice smoke filled oasis I can relax in where I won't run into any of these turds, and enjoy a Tom Collins, a greasy burger, and a fine smoke. You don't like smoke, then go to one of the many many smoke-free establishments in town, and in the third ward, and stop complaining about people who are still willing to risk everything to have a good time. Good for you Charlie's - can't wait to meet you. Oh yeah, non-smokers don't tip either. Probably because they need to save their money for the extra long life expectancy they have. Good move on Charlie's part to bring in patrons that know how to tip their servers...
smoking (cancer sticks)? Is that really necessary to make this place appealing? Too bad.
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