Nov. 06, 2011
KALAMAZOO — The city’s newest nightspot aims to be many things.
Modern. Vintage. Upscale. Casual. Prohibition-era name. Las Vegas lounge look.
The Gatsby: A Modern Speakeasy will open at 5 p.m. Thursday. It’s the fifth venue in the Reedy Corp.-owned Entertainment District at the corner of East Michigan Avenue and South Edwards Street.
While most of the block — Monaco Bay Piano Bar and Grill, the Wild Bull Saloon & Steakpit, SkyDeck and District Square — is known to appeal to the college crowd, Reedy Corp. marketing director Bill Fahl said The Gatsby, with its Prohibition-era sensibilities, likes to include another demographic looking for a “more upscale” experience.
“We want to appeal to the younger professional with more disposable income, with more time and less restrictions,” he said.
The Gatsby is a 5,000-square-foot space at 310 E. Michigan Ave. and on the second floor of the Rosenbaum Building. It will be open at 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with the venue shifting to a nightclub/bar with a $5 admission after 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 8 p.m. Saturdays.
For the past five years, the space was used for storage, although two years ago it was turned into a haunted attraction. Reedy Corp. spent around $500,000 to renovate The Gatsby and the adjacent banquet hall Loft 310, which will be used with The Gatsby for large events or private parties, Fahl said.
While the front door of The Gatsby is on the first floor, the venue is on the second floor. Patrons will be greeted at a hostess stand on the first floor.
They will enter two large doors and go up the stairs. An elevator is available. On the busier nights if The Gatsby — with a dining capacity of 80 and a nightclub capacity of 150 — has a wait, people can enter the other neighboring venues while waiting, Fahl said.
Across from The Gatsby’s second-floor entrance are two silver couches and two small tables located in front of a small fireplace. The seats allow patrons to order cocktails and/or appetizers while looking through one of the two arched windows for a nice view of downtown Kalamazoo.
It’s probably the best example of the “vintage comfort,” as Fahl calls it, the venue strives to achieve.
One of the more attention-grabbing decorative touches is the custom painting of Robert Redford, who starred in the 1974 film, “The Great Gatsby,” that hangs beside the bar. Fahl said it has stumped some of the younger visitors.
“If you are under 40, you’re not putting that connection together,” Fahl said jokingly.
The long, narrow space features the bar on the left and tables along the right.
K1103Gatsby-6.jpgView full sizeJohn A. Lacko / Special to the GazetteFine dining: The Great Gatsby ($24) is one of the restaurant's signature dishes, featuring a beef medallion or filet mignon, with a bourbon demi-glace, au gratin potato and a leek tower.
The dinner menu — put together by District Entertainment food services director Giti Henrie and executive chef Charles Franks — will feature regional ingredients and fluctuate with the seasons, Henrie said.
Franks plans to offer nightly specials as well. The menu features items such as the appetizer Capone Kobe Sliders — Kobe beef sliders with onion, and white cheddar on a potato roll for $12 — to one of the signature entrees The Great Gatsby, a beef medallion, or filet mignon, with a bourbon demi-glace, au gratin potatoes and a leek tower for $24.
Fahl said such items are meant for the “elevated taste palate.”
“It requires a patron that’s a little more aware, a little more willing to put it on the edge and try different things,” he said.
The dinner menu also offers pairing suggestions from an extensive
drink menu not seen in other Entertainment District venues.
“We are sporting a pretty substantial wine selection, which is outside the norm of what we normally do,” Fahl said.
Patrons also can order whiskey and scotch flights — ranging from $10 for a straight corn whiskey flight to $33 for a single-malt scotch flight. The Gatsby also offers bottle service, where parties of four or more can order a bottle and a mixer of their choice. It also has bottled beers and martinis.
As for entertainment, Fahl said to expect murder mystery dinners starting later this month. There won’t be consistent live music, but a jazz group or big band may perform for special occasions.
“Nothing has been set in stone. We’ve been trying to figure out what our customers want us to do,” he said.
The opening of The Gatsby comes on the heels of the lock’s busiest weekend, Halloween, when about 6,000 people pass through the various nightspots, Fahl said. On a typical weekend, the Entertainment District, which employs about 150 people, including 15 full-timers, draws between 3,500 and 4,500 per week, Fahl said.
Now, with the addition of The Gatsby, there’s another choice.
So is this the last venue on that block?
“There’s still room. Never rule anything out,” Fahl said.
Written by John Liberty for The Kalamazoo Gazette/mLive. He can be reached at 269-388-8579 or email@example.com.
Entrepreneur Ryan Reedy has a 20-story hotel-tower in his plans for downtown Kalamazoo
Feb. 16, 2013
Ryan Reedy said he hopes to evolve from being seen as a nightclub owner into being seen as an entrep... more
Casino-style fun headed to downtown Kalamazoo: Businessman rolls dice with charity gaming
Jan. 03, 2012
KALAMAZOO — People gamble. And, for the most part, they seem to enjoy it. But these days, area peop... more
Casual, vintage speakeasy meets Las Vegas lounge: Kalamazoo's The Gatsby seeks to draw adventurous patrons
Nov. 06, 2011
KALAMAZOO — The city’s newest nightspot aims to be many things. Modern. Vintage. Upscale. Casual. P... more
Comedian Rob Little to perform at Loft 310 for downtown Kalamazoo's Block Party
Apr. 26, 2011
Michigan native and Los Angeles comedian Rob Little will perform in Kalamazoo May 20-21.... more