Full plans for Whiskey Trust, Chloe's detailed after Spin's closure

Wed. June 11, 2014 10:11 AM by Andy Ambrosius

former spin nightclub in boystown

photo credit // chicagopride.com file

The new owners plan to sink more than $1 million into renovations and be open by June 19.

Chicago, IL - Little was known about the future of Boystown's Spin Nightclub after its abrupt closure in late May, but now the new owners -- three straight men -- are speaking out, detailing their plans for their new businesses Whiskey Trust and Chloe's.

Co-owners Jason Zilberbrand, 40, and Jordan Zabinger, 30 -- joined by general manager James Rhine, 38 -- told Windy City Times they plan to spend an excess of $1 million to fully renovate the nearly 11,000-square-foot space on the corner of Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street. Both will open Thursday, June 19.

Whiskey Trust -- which will have a pre-Victorian saloon-feel with craft cocktails and small plates food -- will occupy the south half of the 9,000-square-foot indoor space. Chloe's, a new nightclub with an entirely new sound system and lighting, will operate on The North End.

The front of Whiskey Trust will be a tavern, with the back portion home to a live performance stage, private room and whiskey distilling learning center, according WCT. Chloe's will feature house music and artwork of gay street artist Homo Riot, injecting elements from popular gay clubs in the 80s and 90s.

The additional 2,000 square feet is an expansive outdoor space and will house a 150-seat garden.

And according to Zilberbrand, the two new spaces will have a completely new look and feel compared to Spin, saying his team is not taking the easy route.

"We could have done what everyone else had done before us, and that is just repackage [a business after buying it], and not be willing to take some risks. But with great risk comes great reward," Zilberbrand told Windy City Times' Ross Forman. "We are bringing something to this neighborhood that doesn't exist right now. We think we are going to be the blueprint for this area going forward."

But the complete overhaul of the highly-trafficked corner will stick to its roots in some aspects, namely the iconic and enormous rainbow flag that hangs on Halsted during Chicago Pride. The new owners say it's not going anywhere.

Details about Whiskey Trust and Chloe's broke the same day as sources confirmed to ChicagoPride.com that Little Jim's, located at 3501 N. Halsted St, will transfer to new ownership starting July 1. Recognized as the longest running gay bar in Chicago, the historic venue will host a "39th and Final Anniversary Celebration" on June 14, stay open through Pride Week, and then rebrand as LJ's. 

The slew of recent changes to North Halsted, which includes the closure of Gay Mart, may have some criticizing the Boystown strip for straying from its roots. However, officials with the Northalsted Business Alliance say they look at the step toward new business in a more positive light.

"Any time there's new business coming into the neighborhood, we're excited," alliance spokesperson Jennifer Gordon told ChicagoPride.com. "The worst thing you can see on the street are empty spaces. Coming from our standpoint, the neighborhood continues to grow and continues to be a very vibrant community. That's something people are gravitating toward."

"We're all about variety and new concepts, and it's always good to have a mix and keep North Halsted fresh," she continued. "That's a huge advantage."

Whiskey Trust plans to serve dinner for less than $20 per person, with signature cocktails ranging from $12-14 and craft beer from $6-8, Windy City Times reported.

h/t Windy City Times

Related: Spin was the 'luckiest accident for owner Gassman (WCT)