While the flapper era is buried in the distant past, local businessman Justin Michael hopes to bring the refinement, taste, and smoke-filled back rooms of the 1920s roaring back to life with a new downtown bar.
Smoke and Tonic, located above the Haberdashery in an old doctor’s office, will be an up-scale, smoke-free, cocktail bar with a separate smoking lounge where customers can try an assortment of high-end cigars.
Smoke and Tonic is for “anybody in Claremore who wants a real cocktail, a craft cocktail—something that’s not rum and coke,” Michael said.
Claremore residents who drive to Tulsa for venue’s like Hodges Bend and Valkyrie will be able to enjoy one-of-a-kind drinks in a high-class environment, much closer to home.
“It’s always going to be the place in Claremore where you can bring your significant other for a date and quiet conversation, without feeling like you’re yelling over other people,” Michael said. “Or you can sit in here any time during the day and have a business meeting, talk business over drinks and cigars.”
Part of the inspiration for the bar is a rare cocktail recipe book written by Ernest Hemingway and 30 other famous authors of the early 20th century.
Library paneling on the walls, and antique editions of the books written by those authors, will accent the original 100-year-old, hardwood banister and floors that are still in good condition.
The “piece de resistance,” in Michael’s words, will be a giant, ornate humidor suspended above the stairwell.
He refused to give details, but said, “People will be coming off Route 66 when they hear about it, just to see it. It will be that cool.”
Michael addressed the concern that the smoking lounge, meant for cigars and pipes only, would stink up the bar by introducing negative pressure to the space.
A one-way draft from the rest of the building into the smoking lounge, and from there to outside, will keep the whole bar from smelling like smoke, even when the doors swing open.
Smoke and Tonic will not be in competition with Tap on the Tracks and Main Street Tavern, but a compliment to them, Michael said.
While Tap on the Tracks will serve craft, local beer and wine, Smoke and Tonic will focus on the artistic side of bartending.
“They really should compliment each other very well,” Michael said. “I am friends with the owners Tap on the Tracks, we talked the other day, and we’re both excited about being able to go to the others' establishments for the thing that we’re not providing.”
A firm opening date is not yet known, but Michael hopes to be finished before the start of the new year.