by Sally Mitani
"We're going for a speakeasy kind of feel," is the smooth response of Andy, the bartender at The Last Word, to the question of why his bar always looks like it's closed. The Last Word opened last February in the former Goodnite Gracie and has no signage out front, just a raw-looking pinkish metal frame where a sign used to be. The entrance on Huron gets major drive-by but little walk-by traffic (if you get close enough, a small paper sign behind a glass case gives the relevant details).
Postcards stacked on the bar call it "a hidden cocktail bar." Managing partner Robbie Schulz confesses that a secret speakeasy isn't the permanent plan, but they've already had one go-round with the city sign commission to get the old sign down.
"You need a permit if you're 'adding or changing,' and I guess removing is changing. We don't like how it looks now either."
Schulz says they're now in the finishing stages of a new design: "no neon, nothing in-your-face, probably weathered wood or barn wood."
[Originally published in September, 2012.]
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