In its first year open, Reilly Craft Pizza's basement bar program, Tough Luck Club, gained a lot of attention locally and nationally with playful, inventive cocktails in its cavelike lounge atmosphere. The menu booklets threw industry standards for a loop by including every drink recipe on the menu and naming the cocktails cheeky jabs at bartending pretensions.
However, after just a year, the bar is going through some big changes. The bar's first beverage director, Niklas Morris, has been replaced by a duo of the bar's other beginning bar staff. Bartenders-turned-bar-managers Jon Holcombe and Stephen Ott are currently running both Reilly and Tough Luck Club's drink programs. While most of the changes have been behind the scenes in terms of organization, the bar is now offering more in the way of brand name spirit selection (think Jack Daniels) to help appeal to a wider variety of drinkers.
Owner Tyler Fenton said the wider spirit selection is just one aspect that's changing for the bar.
"Moving forward we're excited to expand the beverage program to offer more for everyone both in terms of drinks and in terms of programming," We also plan to have an intensified commitment to quality, technique and consistency."
The programming he mentioned will include more events and live music. As far as the drinks go, the menu at TLC and Reilly is still the same for the time being, though plans to release a brand new TLC menu are in the works with the release is slotted for March 1. A bottle program for wine will be released later that month.
"I am very excited to have Jon Holcombe and Stephen Ott taking over the beverage program at Reilly and TLC," Fenton says. "TLC recently celebrated it's one year anniversary and we are all thrilled with how things went in that first year."
Tough Luck Club
(101 E. Pennington St.) is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. until midnight and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.
: Former beverage director Niklas Morris says that, while he doesn't currently have his next move planned completely, it likely will not be in the country.
"I'm proud of what I achieved and now I'm off to the next thing," Morris says.