DUNNING — The husband-and-wife team behind The Garage Bar & Sandwiches, 6154 N. Milwaukee Ave., have rehabilitated a 76-year-old Dunning dive bar and reopened it as a polished but well-preserved neighborhood watering hole.
Lisa Kennedy and Jesse Roman pulled back the curtain last month on their new project, Old 41 Saloon, just two months after they bought the standalone brick storefront at 7718 W. Addison St.
The couple named the bar for the year it was built, they said. The building cycled through a stable of owners and identities through the decades, most recently as Mugshots, which Kennedy often heard described as an "old man bar," she said.
"We'd come by every once in a while, and I always loved the vintage feel of it," Kennedy said. "But we thought she needed a little love, so when she came on the market, we just jumped on it."
The new owners stripped out boarded-up windows, re-tiled the walls and laid a fresh wooden finish on the decades-old linoleum bar, they said. They also adorned the art deco design with a few modern touches, like a digital draft list and seven flat-screen TVs.
"The biggest challenge is changing the neighborhood's perception of what this bar is," Kennedy said. "A lot of people in their 20s and 30s will stop in saying they love beer, but that they've never set foot inside."
She and Roman are hoping to lure the younger crowd with a mile-long craft beer list, plus eight craft cocktails and 24 whiskies. They built 16 draft lines where none existed before, set on top of 116 bottles and cans with names like Three Floyds, Ballast Point and Weinhenstephaner.
The couple is renovating a back room they hope to turn into a video arcade, and they're seeking permits to set up a front patio before summer's end — all in an effort to solidify the old bar's new face as a community hangout, Kennedy said.
"We want to be an extension of people's backyards," she said, "like they can come here with whatever they're doing at home."
Along with eight craft cocktails and 24 whiskies, the bar serves 116 bottles and cans of beer, plus 16 rotating draft lines. [DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin]