It's an inspired combination, so perfect that it is a wonder it took five years to be proposed. The Mob Museum is seeking city permission to build a "speakeasy" themed bar and distillery in its basement, that will also provide a practical education on the history of Prohibition and organized crime's long relationship with the alcohol industry.
Yet to be announced, the application follows word that the downtown museum will undergo a year of renovations, including upgrading the retail store to add a new cafe.
Planned for the basement, the 2,600-square-foot footprint will install a 203-square-foot bar with 1,423 square feet of seating. Current renderings hint at a room designed to look like a pharmacy will act as cover for the underground activities. To gain entry, guests will need to knock on a nondescript door, then interact with the bar’s security through a sliding window slot.
With a planned 15 seats at the bar, design touches include historically accurate bottles and lighting, flocked wallpaper and vintage film clips played behind the bar. Plans call for the installation of a standard music jukebox and also a rare Scopitone film variant. Mobsters made great profits for decades controlling sections of the jukebox industry.
For another level of basement subterfuge, the entrance to secret, 175-square-foot VIP room is hidden behind artwork. A temporary stage will also be tucked away behind a stage curtain.
The distillery and microbrewery aims to produce their own small batches of "moonshine" and beer, with enough room in the facility to provide tours of the manufacturing process.
Previously revealed upgrades were promised to be completed by the "first quarter of 2018." An opening date for the basement additions has not been confirmed, but the museum already believes opening hours will be 9 a.m. to midnight from Sunday to Thursday and until 2 a.m on Friday and Saturday. Visitors will need to wear wristbands identifying they are over 21 before they can imbibe a legal tipple.