On the eve of its second birthday celebration, Miner Street Tavern Managing Partner Alex Giannikoulis, 29, met with Patch to relive the good times and look forward to its future as a neighborhood bar in Des Plaines.
So how did Miner Street Tavern come into fruition?
Myself and the other managing partners grew up in Des Plaines, so we definitely have a connection here. John (Grammatis, another managing partner) and his father-in-law (Ted Vlahopoulos) wanted to fix up the property and restore it as a bar. We updated the look with seven new plasma TVs and a new countertop. Since we are from the area, we invited some friends from around here and the bar has been going ever since.
What is your favorite part of being in Des Plaines?
Miner Street Tavern definitely has a personalized feel. We have a local neighborhood atmosphere with lots of regulars. It is a smaller place where we know most of the people in here.
Are there any challenges that have come with being located in Des Plaines?
Des Plaines isn’t really known as a place to go out, and its downtown isn’t as developed as some other nearby communities. But more condominiums are being built and more businesses are coming to the downtown area, so I hope that will attract more foot traffic.
Looking ahead, what are some of the Tavern’s goals?
More name recognition in Des Plaines and elsewhere. We would like to be known as The Bar in Des Plaines. We don’t have a specialty house drink and we’ve been working on developing that. While we serve pizza from Giuseppe’s, we would like to branch out and serve more food. Five years down the road, we would like to have another Miner Street Tavern nearby.
Where do most of your customers come from?
A lot of people come to take a load off after work, and being so close to the Metra station, we get a lot of commuters waiting for the bus or train. Many people come in to watch whatever sports game might be on, and later in the evening, we get a younger crowd looking to party. We don’t attract a certain age range — everyone stops by. We don’t want to make anyone feel unwanted.
What is the craziest thing that has happened in Miner Street Tavern?
On Halloween, a lot of people come in with crazy costumes. But last year’s Suitcase Party where we gave away a trip to Vegas in a reverse drawing was pretty fun. Patrons brought suitcases and were ready to go to Vegas right after the drawing (the last name in the hat won). When it was down to the last two groups, we drew the final name and that group started celebrating because they thought they had won. We had to tell them, “No, the other group won.” That was pretty funny.
When you are behind the bar, what is your favorite drink to serve?
A Vegas Bomb. The shot is equal parts Crown Royal Whisky, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice mixed together, with a splash of Red Bull added at the end.
Miner Street Tavern, located at 1492 Miner Street in Des Plaines, will be having a 1920s-themed anniversary party tonight to celebrate its two years of business. Dress in your Prohibition gear to enjoy complimentary champagne, era-themed drinks, and a chance to win a two-for-one voucher for a trip to Las Vegas. Only guests that RSVP will be in the drawing. To register, visit Miner Street Tavern’s Facebook page.