Krew Rock Lounge is uniquely laid out so that the venue and its bar have full separation from the main bar and lounge area. This separation allows patrons to select the tempo they are looking for, whether that is enjoying a show from the diverse selection of bands and DJs or simply winding down in the lounge with friends. The business’ slogan is “When Satan starts to hound you, commence to rock and roll. Get rhythm in your feet and music in your soul.” The lyrics are from a late 1930s early rock and roll tune. When Lipka and Starkill stumbled across the lyric, it was a perfect statement for the type of place that they wanted to create – equal parts space for expression and discovery and a respite for those seeking an escape. The lounge sets a clear tone with the addition of other provocative rock and roll forward quotes adorning the ceiling.
Lipka and Starkill want the vibe to be inclusive. They hope the main room will attract smaller gatherings like art exhibits to adorn the space’s large walls, open mic nights, poetry slams and lower-key bands. In the larger venue space, they anticipate a wide range of music genres from techno and rock to folk and country. The lounge also has seven HDTVs and the state-of the-art projector and screen in the main venue can double as a space to watch sports or show movies when live shows aren’t booked.
Expect this revamped watering hole to combine the best of new school mixology with old school, edgy rock and roll bar culture. The bar offers a curated menu of bourbon, whiskey and tequila based drinks with a variety of house made syrups and infusions as well as a selection of craft beer. Once the kitchen is complete, seasonal gastropub fare will rule the menu with a selection of high-end bar bites, small plates and sandwiches made to order. The lounge has an urban feel with low wattage lighting, exposed brick and an assembly of locally produced mixed-media paintings and street art adorning the walls. The reclaimed antique seating doubles as a work of art in itself. The venue plans to further enhance its ambiance with the installation of chandeliers early next year.
Lipka and Starkill have a background in the bar industry. Starkill is a seasoned mixologist and DJs both as a duo with The Audio Assassins and solo as DJ Starkill. Lipka has always had a love for the music industry and spent many years coordinating events. He’s also worked his entire life in the bar industry, starting with a family-owned business until he worked his way up to owning his own establishments. Today, the duo also runs Art’s Tavern in Hillside. Beyond that, Lipka is also a collector and operates an antique store, offering repurposed furniture and home accessories. In fact, much of the seating in Krew Rock Lounge was salvaged by Lipka before local artists dressed them up with their designs.
Jousef Mondragon, BDC Board President, stated, “The BDC is proud to welcome Krew Rock Lounge to our entertainment corridor on Roosevelt Road. Your venue is an excellent complement to the offerings we see from the Veltway Corporation, FitzGerald’s, Friendly Tap and Wire. Welcome to Berwyn.”
Mayor Robert J. Lovero, added, “You’ve done a tremendous job on this space, and the artwork looks great. Congratulations to you and your team. Your business helps us to spread the positive momentum eastward from the other destination businesses we see radiating along Roosevelt from Oak Park Avenue. We wish you success. Thank you for investing in Berwyn.”
Lipka and Starkill’s eyes are set on attracting and supporting people who want to express their art and creativity in their establishment, stating, “We work for the people who want to express themselves here. Regardless of the show, we hope to offer excellent production value and a calendar that grabs your attention with a mix of new and seasoned talent. We are flexible and are ready to evolve because we’re here to let people showcase their talent, however that might look.”
David concluded, “When I started to look at Berwyn, I knew that I wanted to be on the Roosevelt Road strip because it had good energy and I met some great people who are growing our entertainment scene. Once I started to work with the City and the BDC to get the doors open, I was grateful for how cooperative and willing to help everyone was. We are excited to be a part of the ‘Veltway’ music destination.”