Proprietors of future New Hope cocktail lounge tweak business plan

A microdistillery will open in the next few months at 7530 42nd Ave. N., New Hope. (SUN FILE PHOTO BY ALAINA ROOKER)

The proprietors of a microdistillery and cocktail lounge moving into the former Mountain Mudd cafe on 42nd Avenue in New Hope have confirmed they still plan to open amid the pandemic, but will be doing so with a modified business plan.

Owners and siblings Alan Davis and Amy Hotchkiss spoke of the modifications to their new business, Pocket Square Cocktail Lounge, when they were approved for an on-sale liquor license by the New Hope City Council May 11.

“In these interesting times, we’re looking to revamp our business plan a little bit and do a little more event space and a little bit less hours open to the public,” said Davis, who addressed the council via videoconference. “Our hours of operation will remain the same.”

Davis, also speaking via video connection, said the lounge would not be open for another few months, but that the changes would allow greater “focus on small gatherings and social distancing.”

The distillery, which would make, serve and sell small amounts of hard alcohol, will be the first of its kind in New Hope.

The owners had previously intended to distill their product on Mondays and Tuesdays and open the lounge to the public for the rest of the week with private parties on Sundays. By law, the business is not allowed to be open to the public and distill at the same time.

Davis and Hotchkiss first came before the New Hope City Council in January and sought the approval of building permits. The two said they planned to begin by producing gins and vodkas, and possibly more difficult, intensive spirits in the future. The lounge will not produce or sell beer or food.

At last week’s meeting, Mayor Kathi Hemken asked if the owners intended to use the outdoor space near the entrance of the building. Hotchkiss confirmed that they were planning on putting a few tables in the area for customers in the summer months.

Councilmember Jonathan London asked if they were planning to follow Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Hotchkiss said while there weren’t guidelines offered for microdistilleries, the business would follow all applicable restaurant guidelines.

“The floor plan and space allows for significant distance between tables,” she added.

Councilmember John Elder told Davis and Hotchkiss that he appreciated their “common sense approach” to the situation.

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