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Former Haute Dish Space Will Become Craft Cocktail Bar

Even though he’s still about two months away from opening his new craft cocktail bar, Public Domain, Stefan Van Voorst is already putting his staff through extensive training. Because visitors won’t get a drink menu when they settle in. They’ll get a drink specialist.

“So, basically the bartenders have a couple hundred cocktails in their heads, ready to go, and everything’s a conversation with guests—what they like, what their preferences are,” Van Voorst said. “And then we’ve got a whole catalogue of cocktails ready to go.”

He said many of the cocktails at Public Domain will be riffs on the classics, reimagined to fit the guests’ tastes or how they’re feeling in the moment. “The old fashioned is a great example,” he said. “We’ve got like 30 different old fashioneds.”

Public Domain will also offer some small plates for visitors to munch on.

Van Voorst has been eyeing the North Loop for some time to open his new venture. “I wanted to be downtown, I wanted to be where there was action and people and energy,” he said. “I remember when Haute Dish closed, I saw this place and I thought, I want to put a bar in there so bad.”

He’s installed a new countertop at the bar and is in the process of adding new furniture but many of the historic features of the space will remain.

“I wanted to come into a spot where the room already had some character and some history,” he said. “I just love the room and the history of it.”

He’s guessing that Public Domain will be ready to open by mid-July, and he will be among those mixing cocktails behind the bar. “It’s my favorite place to be,” he said.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

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