Back in November, we brought you an interview with Phil McFarland of Smallbar Division, one of Chicago’s most well-known craft beer bars. He had made the tough decision to close Smallbar in the wake of what he felt was a fundamental shift in Division Streets culture. He didn’t feel like re-inventing or giving it another go, and he walked away, leaving the fate of the space in a new generation's hands.
And since then, a lot of folks have wondered what would happen to the old Smallbar space, a prime piece of real estate in an area of Chicago that changes daily.
Well, today we’re going to talk to the team that took over the Smaller Division space, and the new concept they’re hoping will serve the neighborhood, exceed expectations, and remind everyone that a neighborhood is what you make of it.
Heisler Hospitality, as Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner are known, have created some of the most beautiful and thoughtful bar and restaurant concepts in Chicago, from Bangers & Lace, to Trenchermen, the Sportsman's Club and many more. Now, they’re revealing their plans for Pub Royale, a sort of English-style indian food joint with a great beer and cocktail list run by former Publican beverage manager, and Virtue Cider sales Rep, Michael McAvena.
On today’s episode, we talk about what it takes to develop a great hospitality concept, how they go about curating a unique beverage program, and why Division Street might not be a lost cause after all.