As it draws closer to opening next month, Prohibition, the downtown burlesque bar, restaurant and supper club, continues to attract top talent to bring plans for a "nostalgic and decadent" dining experience to life. First, Prohibition tapped former Batanga chefs Ben McPherson and Matt Wommack to execute a seafood-driven menu of Gulf Coast cuisine.
Now, the restaurant announced that it has hired Lainey Collum as beverage manager to put its wine, beer and cocktail programs in equally good hands. Collum brings extensive experience to the position, with stints at both The Hay Merchant and The Pass & Provisions to her credit. The New York Times featured one of Collum's cocktails in March: the Down the Rabbit Hole, which uses a mushroom tincture.
"There’s nothing about this that’s not fun," Collum tells CultureMap. "We’ve got burlesque dancers. We’re doing barrel-aging. We’re going to have an amazing ice program. The owners just want the environment to be fun, to be a good time."
"I am thrilled to have Lainey join our team," said Prohibition managing partner Anh Mai in a statement. “Lainey’s extensive knowledge about spirits, wine and beer, paired with her restaurant and hospitality background, is a unique combination that will make her a fantastic addition to our restaurant."
Collum has a simple explanation for what aspect of joining Prohibition most appealed to her. "Honestly, it’s fun," Collum tells CultureMap. "There’s nothing about this that’s not fun. We’ve got burlesque dancers. We’re doing barrel-aging. We’re going to have an amazing ice program. The owners just want the environment to be fun, to be a good time."
Although the downtown scene is already crowded with top-notch cocktail destinations like Goro & Gun, Bad News Bars, El Big Bad and The Pastry War, Collum believes Prohibition has a way to find its own niche. "We’re going to put on a show," she explains. "A lot of it is just going to be come in and have a good time. Lose yourself in this '20s environment, and we’ve transformed it into another world."
In the beginning, Collum says she intends to focus on Prohibition's signature barrel-aged cocktails. She has 25 barrels in house, and diners will be able to order a barrel for their table. Her training a Cicerone will guide Prohibition's beer selections, and she spent time on Tuesday tasting wines for a future list.
More than any specific drink, Collum wants Prohibition to deliver great service.
"How can we make the cocktails really good and also come out really fast," she says. "We’re going to be joking around with the guests. We just want them to come in and relax."
Prohibition is scheduled to open in September. Catch weekly burlesque pop-ups every Saturday in an adjacent space at 1000 Prairie.