Music venue for 53rd Street

Staff Writer

Hyde Park should have a new music venue and restaurant by the end of this year.

The Promontory, 1539 E. 53rd St., will begin serving “hearth-based” food when it opens its doors to patrons and musicians in late 2013, owner Bruce Finkelman said at a Fifth Ward meeting hosted at the Catholic Theological Union, 5416 S. Cornell Ave., on Thursday.

Finkelman, who owns The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., and Longman & Eagle, 2657 N. Kedzie Ave., among other restaurants and venues, will bring a music venue and restaurant to the former Borders building.

Finkleman was mum on what the menu would look like but he did say it was designed and ready to go. Food will be served on both floors.

Finkleman said he had not decided if the restaurant would take reservations or operate first-come-first-served like Longman & Eagle does.

“I have reservations about reservations,” Finkelman said.

The restaurant at The Promontory will occupy 3,500 square feet of space on the first floor and the venue will occupy another 7,500 square feet on the second. Each floor has a 1,400-square-foot patio for concertgoers or diners who might like fresh air.

The Empty Bottle teamed up with concert hall S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave., in Evanston, to create Promontory. The new venue is a joint venture between the two entrepreneurs and the mixture of the two will heavily influence the types of acts they bring to Hyde Park.

Finkelman said he plans to bring a diverse range of musicians, depending primarily on what neighborhood residents are interested in seeing.

“The one thing we do at The Empty Bottle, and at other venues as well, it’s really based on community. We do a lot of gear swaps, we do a lot of farmers markets and we do a lot of things that are based around the community. While this venue will be a member of our family it is based in the community of Hyde Park,” Finkelman said.

The Empty Bottle often hosts early or afternoon shows that are open to all-ages to give teenagers and children the opportunity to see and play live music.

“I think it’s very important that we introduce the youth of America to music and I know there are some people that don’t like all-ages shows, but I think it offers people the opportunity to see music they wouldn’t be exposed to. It’s how I got into music, it’s how my daughter got into music and how we introduce a lot of people to The Empty Bottle,” Finkelman said.

There will be a mixture of all-ages shows, and those for people 17 and older, 18 and older and 21 and older.

The 43 parking spaces in the lot behind the building will be open to use for the public, though not exclusively used for The Promontory.

The venue will apply to the city for a public place of amusement license and a liquor license that will allow the venue to sell alcohol until 2 a.m. Sound proofing should prevent noise from leaking to nearby homes.

“We’re hoping to be open breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Finkelman said.