No Need to Hide the Hooch at Forthcoming Downtown Speakeasy Hawthorne  


The site of soon-to-open bar Hawthorne on Casino Center Boulevard

Attention all you dames, skirts, wise guys and boozehounds: Prepare to meet Downtown’s next watering hole, Hawthorne, slated for a fall debut at 1115 South Casino Center Boulevard. Bar owner Brittany Michelle named the spot for the infamous Illinois hotel from which Al Capone ran his bootlegging operation. But unlike Capone, we will soon be able to enjoy a classic cocktail or glass of wine at the Hawthorne without fear of being interrupted by the coppers.

“The Hawthorne is a place where people can go when they get off work to have a decent bottle of wine and wind down,” Michelle says. That wine could be any of 12 whites or 14 reds. Southern Wine and Spirits mixologists Francesco Lafranconi and J.R. Starkus will supply their takes on Prohibition-era cocktails with names to match. You might feel like a gangster sipping on drinks named “Machine Gun Killer” or “The Snitch,” surrounded by the 1920s décor and listening to music akin to The Great Gatsby soundtrack.

Michelle is a former ballerina who went into hospitality and bartending full time after suffering a foot injury; she currently manages the Hard Hat Lounge. Her intimate, two-story, 2,000-square-foot space (not a Downtown Project joint) will hold about 100 people with indoor and outdoor seating. Michelle already plans to have live music events in the shared courtyard space beneath the foyer—low key during the week, electronic on the weekend—as well as intimate acoustic sets inside. So bring on the giggle-water—Hawthorne sounds like the bee’s knees.


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