Old is new again at Dunning bar 'all about the beer'
A historic Dunning bar formerly known as Mug Shots has gotten a bit of a face-lift for its latest manifestation as the Old 41 Saloon on Addison Street.
Owner Lisa Kennedy talked to Chicago City Wire about bringing new life to a business that was established in 1941 and which the previous owner ran for 27 years at 7718 West Addison.
Kennedy's first business, Garage Bar and Sandwiches at 6145 N. Milwaukee St., has been open for six years and is a larger bar/restaurant, with a full kitchen and a rooftop deck. She said the Old 41 Saloon is a way to bring a vintage experience to the neighborhood.
The bar went on the market in January; Kennedy bought it in March and opened in May. She knew it appealed from firsthand experience.
“I always loved the space -- it just had a really good feel in there,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy described some of the things she had to renovate, including a broken walk-in cooler and old bathrooms. Some patrons used to think of the place as a kind of “old man’s bar” and might have been reluctant to stop by, she said, but the opening up of front window spaces makes the place more inviting.
Although the bar now has some newer fixtures, Kennedy said she wasn't trying to tear the historic bar apart.
“We've kept it very vintage,” Kennedy said, describing how the new look preserves an old original bar back. “We wanted to keep the history.”
She also added 16 draft beer lines, so that Old 41 Saloon can serve 120 types of beer as well as offering a cocktail menu.
“We're trying to attract that beer connoisseur,” Kennedy said, adding that her door is open to all kinds of customers. However, she said, the craft beer element is an important part of the new bar, where a wide variety of brews can hopefully accommodate different palates.
“We’re all about the beer,” Kennedy said.
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7718 West Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60634