By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jan 04, 2019 at 4:46 PM

A new bar and restaurant is finally rounding the corner towards opening at 326 E. Mason St., a space which formerly housed 42 Lounge.

Its name is XO Cocktail Parlor and it will bring together a mix of well-executed cocktails and small-plate dining in a sophisticated lounge-style environment.

XO is the product of an evolving vision brought forth by owner Larry Taylor, a young professional who has spent years envisioning a new type of Downtown venue which appeals to the new generation of socialites.

"I’ve always had a vision to do something different in Milwaukee, and XO has been an idea that I’ve really refined over the years," he says. "I feel as if now is really the right time to capture the imaginations of the young professionals and millennials who are tired of the corner bars and nightclubs that we already have. My goal is really to bring some balance to the things that already exist in the area."

Taylor says he’s also hoping to tap into the momentum of groups like Social X and Newaukee to provide a venue that appeals to a younger, upwardly mobile demographic.

In turn, he’s taken great pains to design a space that captures a very distinct look and feel. To do so, he’s relied on the expertise of Flux Design to assist him in bringing the space to life. That includes custom-designed furnishings and interior details including "embellishments that may or may not have been used in recent times."

The venue, he says, will have a lounge-like vibe, featuring soft seating and cocktail height tables along with a palette of neutral warm tones and pops of red. In addition to a full bar, the venue will also feature a menu of appetizers and small plates appropriate for dinner and snacking.

"I’m really focusing a great deal on the aesthetic as well as the staff and service," Taylor says, "Something that’s important to me was to create a place with some consistency. It’s the type of place where – no matter what day or time it is – guests will know what to expect."

Once open, XO Cocktail Parlor will be open Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to close.

Watch OnMilwaukee for additional details as they become available. You can also follow XO Cocktail Parlor on Facebook and Instagram.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.