The recently announced Craft Art Bar, whose owners began renovating the space at 2732 Cherokee Street in January, is slightly behind on its scheduled open date. But owner Tatyana Telnikova says she's optimistic they'll be able to do a soft opening in late March, followed by a grand opening in early April.
"So far everyone who walks into the bar, even in its preliminary stages of development, says something along the lines of, 'I've never seen anything like this before,'" she says. "That's been consistent."
Telnikova shared a few behind-the-scenes shots of Craft's progress, as well as with her social networks, and talked with Gut Check briefly about what it means to be "part bar, part gallery, part studio."
Telnikova, who also owns HandleBar (4127 Manchester Avenue; 314-652-2212) in the Grove, says she's long wanted to collaborate with her co-owner, Tom Halaska, the former general manager of Sasha's on Shaw. She also had her heart set on Jamie Jessop designing and building the bar -- he also did the honors at the bike-themed HandleBar. Craft will feature Jessop's "bar top time capsule," inlaid with metal tools and other artifacts.
"It's just very stylized, unique, there's not a lot of sharp corners," she says of the design. "It's also a very artistically involved project for me and so visually I think this bar is very intricate and interesting. I hope for it to be inspiring to people."
"Atmosphere-wise, it will have the friendliness of both HandleBar and Sasha's combined," says Telnikova. "Tom is definitely planning a very creative food and drink menu as well. It should be pretty fun."
Craft likely won't be ready to do a full-fledged dinner service any time soon, but anyone looking for a sneak preview of its "Russian-inspired comfort foods" should sign up for the "Traditional Russian Family-Style Feast" Telnikova is throwing at HandleBar on March 24. Tickets for that are available here, though there are only 30 seats available.
Craft also hopes to plant a foothold in the arts community. There's already a call out for submissions for Craft's first art show (information on how to apply for that here). Telnikova's also creating a back room space for seminars, readings, yoga classes that will be available to reserve for free.
Check out Craft Art Bar's Facebook page for all the latest updates on its progress.