Oak Park has a new place to wet its whistle with the opening of Flourish Lounge at 193 N. Marion St.
It's more than just a bar, though, according to co-owner Ron Halverson, who told Wednesday Journal that Flourish operates as a co-working space during the day and bar in the evening.
Halverson and his wife, Kristen Halverson, have operated Halverson Group, a marketing and business intelligence firm, out of the downtown Oak Park storefront for the last 16 years. They launched the business in 1997.
Ron Halverson said that as the business has seen some of its employees to begin telecommuting, the space on Marion Street has become available for the co-working/cocktail bar concept.
From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. the business offers conference rooms, breakout rooms and office space for business, but at 5 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on the weekend it becomes a high-end lounge.
"It is a gathering place for the community," Ron Halverson said in a telephone interview.
The space will offer poetry readings, book author events and group activities like trivia nights, he said.
The lounge has a broad selection of wine, spirits and beer, which are self-serve with the help of sommeliers and drink experts, according to Halverson. He said the business also is offering local beers like Kinslahger.
Flourish also offers a selection of charcuterie, snacks, cheeses and shareable plates.
The drinks are self-pour, so customers enter the business and receive a Flourish card that allows them to pour their own. Along with hard drinks, the establishment has an assortment of roasted coffee, kombucha and sodas, Halverson said.
According to Flourish's marketing information, the electronic-card system monitors the amount of alcohol guests are consuming, so customers don't overserve.
"The system is programmed to deactivate a guest's Flourish card after two drinks are dispensed in an hour," the marketing material notes. In addition, a certified employee "is continuously positioned in close proximity to the beverage station any time alcohol is being served to offer assistance and monitor appropriate drinking behavior."
Halverson said the concept is unique to the area, noting that self-serve places in Chicago do not have the kind of expert guides to help customers as they pour and make their own drinks.
"I think you'll see that a lot of those places are beer-oriented," he said.
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