August 23, 2017

Pssst... Want to Know a Secret? (#14)

The time is here. BUT before just blabbing where the bar is going to be and when we are opening, I feel compelled to make you suffer through what I have been doing the past few weeks. So sorry - my blog, not yours. Feel free to jump to the bottom. But you will be missing out on some super great updates!
Fancy Fancy!

I received my Cambridge Business Certificate (and ordered business cards).
("Page 73, Johnson, Navin, R.! I’m somebody now!")

I hired a manager who actually knows what he is doing!
(Dah-da-dah! Welcome, Joshua Dunton!)

I got Cambridge License Commission Approval for the transfer of my liquor license.
(So it is confirmed that I will have alcoholic beverages! Yippee!)

I began working shifts at a real, operating bar - more on this in a minute.
Hiding in the Basement
(So THAT's how it works! It's actually not rocket science.)

I decided to go with "Debate" instead of "Discourse" or "Discussion" in the logo.
(This has proven to be a volatile discussion topic itself... ummm, I mean debate topic.)

I finalized the "American Tapas" menu with dueling small plates.
(Bolstering the "debate" concept - there are two sides to every story and two sides to my menu).
Best. Crushed Ice. Ever.

I went to my first restaurant auction.
(It took me about 4 hours to get a $60 ice crusher - which might not be worth more than $60).

If you have read this far, let's play trick on those who skipped to the end! I'll include a photo that was sent to me of a random bar called Wit's End (I think in New Jersey). That's not my bar... but they won't know that!!! Hah! Classic!

I kicked off a technology project tying in digital signage, an app and a loyalty program.
(Come on, you know me.... there had to be some technology going on here).

I managed to secure oodles of parking in Inman Square all around the bar.
(Now there are NO excuses for not driving in for the night!)

That's a lotta wood.
I decided to build the tables in the restaurant area all by myself.
(And when 900 pounds of wood showed up, I decided I might have over committed!)

I introduced myself at an Inman Square Neighborhood Association meeting.
(However, nobody cared. I was overshadowed by the incoming Medical Marijuana Dispensary). 

I determined that my "Yin/Yang" plates idea is unlikely to come to fruition.
(Ordering plates from China - 4,000 minimum quantity; 2,000 if I pick them up - seems somewhat overkill).


So, if you skipped down to here without reading the updates, well, I hope this feels a little like watching Game of Thrones... starting on Season 3. However (sigh), it most likely won't. In any case, here she is in all of her glory!

Inviting, right?

While I don't have an exact opening date, it appears that early November is a strong Grand Opening candidate. I will be taking over the existing space at 1248 Cambridge Street in Inman Square. It is currently Hops Test Kitchen. This restaurant will be closing (obviously), but their sister restaurant in Coolidge Corner in Brookline, Hops N Scotch, is alive and thriving. How do I know? Because that is where I have been staging (new word for me.. rhymes with "Raj-ing"... those silly French). It has also afforded me the opportunity to try their food a few times and it is gooo-oood. For real! Check them out! (I'm partial to the pastas and burgers)!

There it is... Tell all your friends. Seriously. Tell them ALL. Please. Getting people in the door is soon to be my next concern!


P.S. If you are confused because Google Street View does not show the Wit's End Tavern in the above picture... joke's on you. You'll have to read the entire post now!

August 4, 2017

See First that the Design is Wise and Just; that Ascertained, Pursue it Resolutely (#13)

Yes, I'm back to Shakespeare... or am I? While that quote (this blog's title) is widely attributed to Shakesepeare, it is not found in his plays. Is this then, Fake News? Some think so... I'll leave that up to you to figure out! For me, I'm just trying to say that it's time to talk design!

I am an engineer by training/education. Ask anyone who knows me, "great design sense" would likely not make the top 25 list of traits I possess. Or 50. Or 75. (I am going to go out on a limb and say, yes, it would be in the top 100 - I mean, how many actual traits are there?)  So, from my perspective, "designing" the bar's decor was a daunting task. To be sure, I had lists and lists of ideas, but bringing them all together into a cohesive form? Yikes.

(Cue the trumpets!) Enter LLM Design ( They helped, and continue to help, me define the entire brand experience - basically, they're wrangling my thousand ideas into a few actionable ones. Oh, and designing the interiors. And doing my website. And logo. And menu layout. And even come up with messaging and some cool taglines like: Wit's End -  Lift a Glass, Raise the Bar, Elevate the Conversation. (Cool, right? Recall the concept is about stimulating discussion, engaging in debate, and having fun!) Well, they've been working pretty hard and things are beginning to take shape...

Here's a preview of some "decor" elements...

The Bar
There are two sides to every story. Two perspectives. Two opinions. So why shouldn't there be two sides to the bar? Covered in tiles to keep it entertaining...

TV Talk
I didn't spend 6 years collecting TV Guides for nothing (almost 300 guides). I just didn't know WHY I was doing it. Until  now. The TV Guide Wall...

Center Table
Enjoy sitting, eating, drinking and playing! You'll be encouraged to do it all, especially as a guest sitting at the Center Table...

Menu Cover
Yes, decisions all the way to the menu cover need to be made...

The Great Movie Wall
I happen to love movies. I love talking about them. I love quoting them. I love trivia involving them. So why wouldn't I incorporate them into Wit's End? I wouldn't... not... umm... I did! Can you name the movies these represent? Got other ideas? This is your chance to be enshrined on a wall (I know, right?!)...

The Logo
The brand is beginning to take shape. The concept is congealing. The operations train is leaving the station. Decisions are being made every day. With all this going on, I will be posting more frequently now. And you'll start to see this more and more... (T-shirts will be on sales soon! ;-) )

Ċ½ivjeli! Uzdravlje!