After 40 years on the bench, Cass Corridor’s Willis Show Bar is poised to reopen in January as a live performance venue and cocktail bar, the Detroit Free Press first-reports.
Continuing to earn their empire builders title, Dave Kwiatkowski’s Detroit Optimist Society hospitality group (The Sugar House, Honest John’s, Wright & Company, and more) has partnered with Los Angeles-based investors Steve Livigni, managing partner Sean Patrick, and Brandon Smith to turn back the clock on the long-shuttered lounge. Livigny has been involved in a number of reputable LA bars and restaurants including Old Lightning, Scopa Italian Roots, and The Chestnut Club.
The space with its curved and tiled facade had previously been earmarked for a spot called the Shag Bar, however, the deal fell through. Livigni and his team soon stepped in and eventually contacted Kwiatkowski.
The 3,000-square-foot space features a restored Art Moderne ceiling and a stage that will host jazz, blues, and soul artists. Kwiatkowski says that the 75-seat bar will serve a small selection of cocktails inspired by a 1960s cocktail menu from the Flame Show Bar —originally located just a few blocks the Willis Show Bar).
If all goes according to plan, the Willis Show Bar will be up and running again in January.
This has been a huge year for the Detroit Optimist Society. Earlier this month, the group unveiled a dive tiki spot called Mutiny Bar in Southwest Detroit and took over day-to-day operations at The Buhl Bar in downtown. The group is also working on a restaurant with an accompanying line of charcuterie called Gratiot Avenue Provisions.
• Infamous Willis Show Bar to Re-open in Cass Corridor as Classy Cabaret and Cocktail Bar [Freep]
• Willis Show Bar Website [Official]
• New Bar Claims Formerly Seedy Willis Showplace Space in Cass Corridor [ED]
• All Coming Attractions Coverage [ED]
• All Detroit Optimist Society Coverage [ED]