In the space formerly occupied by the dearly departed 7th Haven (2700 W. 7th St.) will soon open The Gold Standard, the brainchild of former Haven owner Jimmy Moore and Brad Hensarling, owner of The Usual and The Chat Room, both on the Near South Side.
“This is the dive bar’s last stand on 7th Street,” Hensarling said. “We’re here for as long as we’re here, and when we have to move, we’ll move, and that’s all there is to it,” acknowledging that Moore’s lease is up in 2013.
Neither Hensarling nor Moore was looking to do another bar. Moore, particularly, was interested in transforming the Haven property into a food park, but his request for a variance to accommodate nine trucks was denied a couple of months ago by City Hall. At the time of the Haven’s closing, Hensarling and his girlfriend, Kristen Machynski, were kicking around ideas of opening up a bar together. The stars aligned. “I called [Moore] three times [after the Haven closed], and every time his phone was busy,” Hensarling said. “It turns out he was trying to call me at the same time. I think we both had a similar mindset where things were gonna head.”
Hensarling, who says he “cut his teeth” in dive bars, says The Gold Standard will be a dive but not your usual one. “Imagine if you had a dive bar but the bartenders knew how to make shit taste better,” he said. Example: Instead of a whiskey-ginger-ale, why not a whiskey-ginger with a splash of beer, lime, and a dash of bitters? “You can take this two-step process and apply it in hundreds of different ways that people don’t think of to make something taste better,” he said. “It’s not costing you anymore, so you don’t have to charge any more.”
The Gold Standard will be open seven days a week, and while Moore didn’t get his variance, he still will be able to dock four food trucks at all times. The bar will open at 11 a.m. every day but will be non-smoking ’til 3 p.m. in case folks dropping in for lunch want to eat inside and not smell all like smoke.
“Just come hang out and have a drink,” Hensarling said. “Don’t get dressed up. You’ll look weird if you do. We’re not going to rake you over the coals, and we’ll give you something you can’t find anywhere else on 7th Street.”
As for the Haven’s historic marquee, it will still be there but reflect the new venture.