Page 2: 'Secret' Prohibition-era speakeasy opens in Homewood

  From left, Kevin and 
  Dana Pries and Angela 
  and Willian Dunnett 
  are dressed for the 
  occasion of the Blind 
  Tiger's opening.
(Photo 
  by Eric Crump/H-F 
  Chronicle)
 

It looks like a wine cellar. At the bottom of the stairs in the Copper Still Martini Bar at 1961 Ridge Road in Homewood, the small landing has one wall devoted to a wine rack. The only clue that there might be more there than meets the eye is the burly bouncer in a dark suit and fedora standing guard by the rack.

It turns out he's more than a protector of wine. If you are on his list, he will hit the switch that causes the wine rack to swing open, allowing strains of the jazz classic "Summertime" to escape and allowing you entry into the "secret" haven known as the Blind Tiger.

  Shelly Marks attends the 
  opening of the Prohibition-
  style speakeasy in a dress 
  from the 1920s she got 
  from her grandmother. 

  (Photo by Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)
 

The new speakeasy held its grand opening on July 22. The tickets sold out in less than a day when the opening was announced July 12, according to David McDermott, front man for the  establishment that is owned by his wife, Dana McDermott, and her partner, Christine D'Ambrosio.

The exclusive establishment is intended to bring alive the spirit and experience of the drinking spots that gained popularity during the Prohibition era. Patrons are encouraged to wear formal attire, and they are especially invited to wear styles that were popular during the 1920s and early 1930s.

And on opening night, they did.

We're excited to be able to relive the '20s," said Angela Dunnett of Homewood. She and her husband, William Dunnett, were in the Copper Still, waiting with Kevin and Dana Pries, also of Homewood, to get seats in the speakeasy.

The couples were dressed for the occasion, with the women in silky, slinky dresses, the men in suits.

  Dana McDermott, co-
  owner of the Copper Still 
  and Blind Tiger, is dressed 
  the part for the speakeasy's 
  grand opening.
(Photo by 
  Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

Down in the speakeasy, Shelly Marks of Homewood was also dressed the part — authentically — in her grandmother's 1920s dress.

"I really feel like I've gone back in time," she said.

While Dana hosted the event inside, David and their daughter Jamison, who is spearheading the establishment's marketing effort, were outside shooting a commercial that is slated to soon appear in Chicago Heights and Country Club Hills theaters.

Fountains add finishing touch to Martin Square

  Businessman Claude 
  Gendreau, left, and 
  Homewood Mayor Richard 
  Hofeld stand by one of 
  two fountains they 
  sponsored for Martin 
  Square.
(Photo by Eric 
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld said after the improvements to Martin Avenue were finished in 2015 that the project "exceeded all expectations." But he later decided something was missing.

Water.

Hofeld and Claude Gendreau, who owns La Banque Hotel, adjacent to Martin Square, pooled their resources and paid for the installation of two small fountains immediately north of the columns on the north side of Ridge Road at Martin Avenue. The fountains were installed on July 18.

"I think it needed water. Water attracts," Hofeld said. "When people sit out here, it's restful."

He said they sought a design that would fit the aesthetics of the streetscape work, so the fountains are smaller versions of the four columns on each side of Ridge Road that mark the entrances to the square.

Village Manager Jim Marino said the project cost less than $10,000 and was entirely paid for by Hofeld and Gendreau.

"This is our personal contribution to the square," Gendreau said.

Local musicians shine at second Trail Mix concert

  Christal Luster sings during 
  an afternoon set at the 
  second annual Trail Mix 
  free concert.
(Photo by 
  Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

The second annual Trail Mix concert, sponsored by the Theater Arts Leadership Kouncil (TALK), took advantage of a sunny summer day on July 15 to showcase local talent. Teen and adult musicians, soloists and bands, filled Izaak Walton preserve's west pavilion area with sound all afternoon and into the evening.

In addition to the entertainment, guests were treated to sometimes creative s'more concoctions and could, with a donation of a certain amount, earn the privilege of sitting in the VIP section, to be waited on by TALK members.

One Million Degrees program seeks mentors
Here's a chance to help a kid succeed.

  Marcus Singleton, a
  counselor with One
  Million Degrees, works
  with second-year Prairie
  State College student
  Misha Kee.
(Provided 
  photo)
 

One Million Degrees — a Chicago nonprofit organization that seeks to empower low-income, highly motivated community college students to succeed — is looking for volunteer coaches to work with scholars at Prairie State College.

Coaches work with students in a one-on-one and small group setting to provide professional and personal support. The goal is to help these hard working young people develop a vision for their careers.

This is the second year that the organization has run a program at Prairie State College, although the program is 10 years old.

Learn more about coaching and apply at www.onemilliondegrees.org/coach. For questions about the program or applications, call Michaela McGill at 312-920-9605 ext. 310 or send an email to [email protected].
— Provided News

Related story:
Prairie State College helping to make a difference through One Million Degrees program (Nov. 13, 2016)

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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

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