Whiskey bar

Speakeasy-style whiskey bar arrives on Mass Ave

An underground bar-style establishment called The exchange whiskey bar is scheduled to open on August 5 in the historic Hammond Block building at 301 Massachusetts Ave.

This will be the second location for The Exchange, which opened in downtown South Bend in 2013.

The bar offers a wide selection of whiskeys and a menu of cocktails, spirits, wines, beers and a small selection of dishes, such as cold cuts, stuffed eggs and homemade chips and dips.

The owner and operator of the exchange is Indianapolis-based Prime Hospitality Group, which operates seven franchise locations Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas, including two in Indianapolis — 45 S. Illinois St. in the center. -ville and 2727 E. 86e St. Prime Hospitality also operates The Exchange’s South Bend location as well as a bistro / wine bar in Granger called Bin 23.

Prime bought The Exchange earlier this summer from South Bend-based Navarre Hospitality Group.

On Mass Avenue, The Exchange will occupy a total of 3,200 square feet on the ground floor and basement of Hammond Block, an Italian-style structure built in 1874 that has housed many tenants in over the years, including retailer Budnick’s Trading Mart. Sound 19e-century tenants ranged from a doctor’s office to a salon, laundry, and the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons, a precursor to Indiana University’s medical school.

The whiskey bar will occupy a space formerly occupied by the law firm Price Waicukauski Joven & Catlin LLC, which has moved to another part of the building.

Because of its historic character, “the building is perfect for the concept we wanted to create,” said Kristy Rans, President of Prime Hospitality Group.

Rans said the Mass Ave location will have a similar “vintage speakeasy” feel to the South Bend location, which is located in a former bank built in 1913.

Prime Hospitality Group was formed when Rans and her husband Ryan bought franchisee Ruth’s Chris three years ago.

The couple linked up with The Exchange through Ryan Rans’ other business, South Bend-based real estate firm Great Lakes Capital. Great Lakes Capital renovated the South Bend building that The Exchange later moved into, Kristy Rans said.

In other news:

The empty vase, a flower, garden and gift shop at 1105 E. 52sd St., closed permanently after a 10 year race. According to the store’s Facebook page, its last opening day was June 23.

– Birmingham, Alabama-based delivery service Shipt announced this week that it now offers product delivery from Fresh thyme farmers market in 30 cities in the Midwest, including Indianapolis. Fresh Thyme has more than 70 stores in the Midwest, including seven in the Indianapolis area.

– And finally this week we have news from two commercial properties owned by Carmel based developer Pedcor Cos. – Carmel City Center and Indiana Design Center:

Carmel City Center will add three new businesses this summer. Forever gallery, a custom tattoo studio and art gallery, will open in the Nash Building at 858 S. Rangeline Road. Lily and sparrow, a women’s boutique currently in Fishers, will be relocating to downtown Carmel Square at 724 S. Rangeline Road. And Classic Kaboodle Kits & Toys will have a grand reopening from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 17 at 723 Hanover Place. Kits & Kaboodle was once located elsewhere in Carmel at 2442 E. 146e St.

A new showroom called Glass House Gallery will open in September on the first floor of the Indiana Design Center at 200 S. Rangeline Road in Carmel. The gallery will showcase products from two companies owned by Cori and Scott Brown: Franklin window and door and Lorenzo Finestre. Lorenzo Finestre, which sells doors, windows and other European products, opened a showroom on the second floor of the Design Center last year. Now that showroom is moving to a new space that will showcase products from both Browns businesses.


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