WICKER PARK — The red canopies are up, the city inspections passed and the staff are hired at a legendary Division Street bathhouse that closed three years ago and once counted mobsters, politicians and "everyday Joes'' among its devotees.
The only thing the highly-anticipated Red Square Café Lounge needs in which to open to the public at 1914 W. Division Street is its liquor license, said owner Alex Loyfman, 42.
"We might do a couple of private nights for family and friends over the weekend and on Sunday, but we do not want to open to public until we have our liquor license," Loyfman said.
"We've come this far, it's only a few more days," he said.
Inspired by Moscow's Red Square, which Loyfman said "is the one place in Russia most people know," the two-story, 18,000-square-foot building contains steam rooms, saunas, sunken Jacuzzis, cold baths and scrubs, along with a spa offering manicures and pedicures, traditional tanning beds and a stand-up spray tanning booth.
A $30 entry fee gains all-day admittance to communal single sex and co-ed 180-degree steam baths. Microchip-embedded waterproof wristbands will enable guests to make purchases without having to fetch their wallets from a locker.
Diversions to keep patrons on the premises between dips include a 3,500 square-foot restaurant steered by chef David Gebhardt from Japonais and a bar that will serve five draft beers and specialty cocktails.
In the future pipeline, Loyfman plans to transform Red Square's apartments above the complex into a bed and breakfast-style hotel.
Loyfman, who currently has a license to operate the business, restaurant and the spa, said the 45-day window from the date of applying for a liquor license will expire Jan. 18, so he anticipates that the license will come through on or before then.
When asked what element of Red Square he's most excited about bringing to the public, Loyfman said, "The opening in itself is already exciting enough, but I'm excited about having a lot of people satisfied and seeing happy faces. I can't wait to say, 'Just come on in and enjoy yourself'."
Red Square's phone is 773-227-2284. Hours will be 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Follow updates on the Red Square Spa Facebook Page.