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Damen Tavern To Replace Bar DeVille After $1.5 Million Building Sale

By Alisa Hauser | September 22, 2017 2:07pm
 Former Bar DeVille at 701 N. Damen Ave.
Damen Tavern in Former Bar DeVille
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EAST VILLAGE — The owner of neighboring Lincoln Park Irish bars Halligan and Hook and Ladder will be transforming the former Bar DeVille into Damen Tavern by the end of this month — but don't expect to see any shamrocks at Damen Tavern.

"It's not going to be an Irish bar, not a fireman bar. It's not any part of that angle. I was 25 when I opened Halligan, but I'm not 25 anymore,"  Damen Tavern's owner Scott McCorkle said on Friday.

Located at Damen Avenue and Huron Street, the long and narrow vintage brick building that houses the former cocktail lounge Bar DeVille sold for $1.5 million on Aug. 18 to Damen Huron LLC — an entity headed by McCorkle, county and state records show.

Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner, partners at Heisler Hospitality and owners of Bar DeVille, which closed in July after a nine-year run, sold the building to McCorkle.

McCorkle, a Chicago firefighter, owns Halligan Bar, at 2274 N. Lincoln Ave. and Hook and Ladder, 2270 N. Lincoln Ave.

If everything goes as planned, McCorkle said Damen Tavern at 701 N. Damen Ave. will open on Oct. 1.

"We are keeping as much of the cool Bar DeVille as possible, but the back room is opened up, and we are adding windows and a full second bar in the back. It's a two-bar concept, a bar within a bar," he said.

Bar DeVille previously had a large back room, mainly for DJs, with no windows.

"We are adding five giant windows to do an open-air full bar area attached to the original Bar DeVille. It's all Damen Tavern. The front bar [facing Huron Street] will still be vintage 1920s art deco design and the back bar [facing Damen] is going to be a little less art deco, more industrial, with windows that open onto Damen Avenue," McCorkle said.

McCorkle said he bought the bar because it's a unique space and rare to have that much frontage on Damen Avenue.

He plans to offer a reasonably priced drink menu, he said.

"It's not going to be mind-boggling. We are not bringing celebrity bartenders in. It will be unpretentious —  a very nice but a reasonably priced place. We are sorting it out now. Check back next week. I'm covered in dust right now," McCorkle said.

Social media posts hint at what Damen Tavern, which just launched a Facebook page, could be brewing up inside in terms of decor.

"So I've been painting this new mural / sign for upcoming Damen Tavern. Based on a crudely drawn Temperance Movement leaflet from the late 19th century. The owner has a great sense of irony!" mural artist Sean Micheal Felix posted on Facebook.

Neon sign for Damen Tavern at 701 N. Damen Ave. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]