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Bootleggers Returns to Prohibition Roots

By Paul Biasco | April 8, 2013 10:43am

NEAR NORTH — With a freshly revamped cocktail menu and the occasional live jazz, Bootleggers hopes to be an oasis among the 5 a.m. bars of Division Street.

The bar, 11. W. Division St., launched a new "speak easy, sip hard" concept last week along with a cocktail list of drinks from an earlier era.

"We don't go much beyond the '40s with the drinks," said Regina Rauch, a beverage consultant and liquor blogger who created the menu. "We want this to be a respite from the craziness."

The cocktail trend in the city has taken hold with the fame of bars such as the Violet Hour and the Aviary, and Bootleggers hopes to capture some of that buzz.

Drinks on Bootleggers new menu contain top-notch liquors such as gins from local favorites North Shore Distillery and Few. Each cocktail runs a steady $9.

Rauch's favorite drink from the list is the Last Word, which features Death's Door gin, green chartreuse, Gabriel Boudier Maraschino and a lime.

"We are plugging something into Division that's not Division," said Lauren McKeaney, chief of development for the Lodge Management Group. "This street really needs something like this."

For now, the bar will host a jazz trio every Thursday, but that could increase if the new concept proves to be a hit.

"We are going back to the theme of Bootleggers," said Lyn McKeaney, president and CEO of Lodge Management Group. "It's like a secret hideout."