PLAINFIELD, IL – Whiskey lovers in Plainfield have something to look forward to in 2020. A new bar focused on whiskey and cocktails – aptly named the Next Whiskey Bar – is slated to open in the village in early 2020. The bar is owned by Dan Tacone and Ben Devee, two service industry veterans. They are also co-owners of the Next-Mex restaurant in Lemont, and a priori Whiskey Bar Next (or NWB, as they also call it) location that has been open in Lisle for about three years. Tacone and Devee said they chose to expand to Plainfield after reviewing a number of potential locations.
“We contacted a bunch of towns, and Plainfield got in touch with us right away… [Plainfield Economic Development Manager Jake Melrose] came to meet us, put us in touch with different real estate agents, showed us properties for rent; what was going on in the pipeline, ”Devee said.
“We looked at Elmhurst, we looked at Western Springs; we reached out to The Grange, Clarendon Hills,” Tacone said.
The property they move into, at 24205 Lockport Street, is the former location of the Sovereign Tap, another popular gastro pub that has previously encountered legal difficulties with investors and former owners of the property. Sovereign didn’t go far, however – he moved across the street to 24216 Lockport, merged with the space of the venue known as the The sanctuary. Patch reached out to one of Sovereign and The Sanctuary’s co-owners regarding the move, but they chose not to comment. The owners of NWB said they were largely unaware of the situation leading up to their expansion.
“We did not know [the legal situation], we had no idea at first. It was for us, their lease was over, they were moving across the street and the landlord was putting the building up for sale. We thought it was a good solution, “Okay, whatever, we’re going to bid on the building and see if we get it,” “Devee said.
“Obviously it was not that easy, but we are very happy with the result,” added Tacone.
Despite the legal issues, Devee said they hope to be good neighbors with Sovereign / The Sanctuary and other surrounding businesses.
“We just want to be friendly neighbors… we want to mind our own business and do our best with our business,” Devee said. “We want to do good and we want everyone in Plainfield to do good.”
Devee said they plan to open by February, once renovations and training of new staff are complete. A few managerial positions – general manager, bar manager – will be filled with staff currently at the OEN’s location in Lisle, but the pair also intend to hire locally.
“We’ll probably need to hire between 15 and 20 front desk staff and probably around five kitchen staff,” Tacone said. The two added that only applicants aged 21 and over will be considered for server positions.
Initially, the couple said, the Plainfield location will be more or less a direct port of Lisle – fairly identical menu, whiskey selection, cocktail list, etc. Over time, however, Devee said he hoped the Plainfield bar would start to grow. its own distinctive elements.
“When we first open it will be the same,” he said. “But we make a chef’s special taco and a chef’s special burger, and then we also do a seasonal cocktail menu. So at some point I wouldn’t mind if a friendly rivalry started where a place was trying to find. the coolest, best burger or the coolest cocktail. “
Even though the two places develop slightly different menus, Tacone said their core identities will remain pretty much the same – inspired by classic rock vibes, a more comfortable hangout than the noisy sports bar that specializes in cocktails and whiskeys.
And which whiskeys do the owners of Next Whiskey Bar recommend?
“If I have to spend a lot of money, it would be the William Larue Weller [bourbon]… but what I normally drink is 1792 [bourbon]”said Devee.
“An Old Fashioned will always be my choice… along with the Rye Angel’s Envy,” Tacone said.