Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Colm Treacy expands LGBT bar and restaurant empire
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2012-03-28

This article shared 6394 times since Wed Mar 28, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Back in the late 1990s, while teaching culinary arts and hospitality courses at Kendall College in Chicago, Colm Treacy wanted to practice what he preached.

So, on June 26, 2001, he opened T's Bar & Restaurant along Clark Street in Andersonville.

"After a few years of being open, I realized I could stop worrying if in fact it'd be a success, because it was—and then I decided to do it again," said Treacy, often simply called T—hence the bar's name—since many are confused on the pronunciation of his first name (column).

Next up was The Sofo Tap, which Treacy bought and took over June 26, 2005.

Then came The Glenwood Bar, which Treacy opened in Rogers Park April 14, 2008.

Although Treacy sold Sofo April 18, 2011, he certainly wasn't done expanding his food and beverage reach across the city's North Side, particularly within the LGBT community.

On Feb. 16, Treacy opened Sidecar, a two-minute walk south, door to door, from The Glenwood.

Also, between The Glenwood and Sidecar, Treacy bought the corner property and, in May, is opening Morsel—an American bistro-style restaurant.

"I'm a project person," Treacy said matter of factly, with a smile, "and I'm not done yet."

Watch out, Lakeview, here comes the Treacy train—building Andersonville and Rogers Park into popular areas for the LGBT community.

"I'm doing well," said Treacy, 45, who was born in Ireland and now lives in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood—less than a minute walk away from T's.

"When the economy is bad, people drink. When the economy is good, people drink. My business partners are solid, sound, nice people. We cultivate a very loyal following, a very loyal customer base, especially since they really like the trifecta: the ability to go to T's, Sidecar and The Glenwood all in one night."

T's is about 2,000 square feet, with a staff that is about 75 percent LGBT; also, it has the same percentages of male and female customers, Treacy said.

"When you open [a neighborhood bar], you let the neighborhood dictate what it's going to be, so I wasn't expecting anything," he said. "I think the neighborhood told me what T's was going to be. The clientele is very mixed, particularly welcoming to the lesbian and transgender audience.

"It's a comfortable place, for the gay and straight communities—and that's what I wanted it to be.

"I think people make a mistake sticking exactly to their [pre-opening] business plan, and not, instead, listening to the customers when they tell you what they want the place to be."

Take, for instance, the customer years ago who complained about the pinot grigio served at T's. Treacy listened and asked the customer to come back the next day. Treacy then had three other pinots for the customer to sample. The customer picked his favorite—and that one was ultimately offered for sale at T's.

"It's very important to listen to the customers," Treacy said. "You cannot be arrogant in this industry. You have to list to the customer and the staff, and I'm really blessed to have the staff that I do. A lot of them have been working for me for 10 years."

Treacy employs about 30 people at his four locations, and only five of them are crossover employees—those who work at multiple locations, though Treacy said all could. About 80 percent of his employees are LGBT, but hiring from within the gay community is not his driving force. "What impacts me [about a potential employee] is, are they a good worker, regardless [of their sexual orientation.]"

Treacy and his partner, Tom Hoang—who also happens to be his co-owner at Sidecar—will celebrate their 19th anniversary in July.

Hoang was the mastermind behind T's name and logo. Treacy suggested selecting a name that was short, simple, memorable and easy to repeat.

When Treacy launched Sofo—a 1,200-square-foot location named because its location is just south of Foster Avenue—he admittedly wanted it to be a gay bar.

"[Sofo] was very successful for me," Treacy said. "Ultimately, I got a call one day and was offered me a lot of money," to sell the bar.

"It was a hard decision to make because I was emotionally attached to Sofo, but it was a good business decision."

The Glenwood came to Treacy and Renee Labrana, his business partner at that location, when its former owner offered to sell. They have has since tripled its size with an expansion about two years ago.

"The Glenwood has been a huge anchor to the neighborhood with a real mixed audience. It's been more than I ever expected it to be," Treacy said. "I didn't realize how the neighborhood was going to totally embrace The Glenwood, and they really have. From the [area] alderman to the Rogers Park Business Alliance to so many others. It has lent itself to being a real anchor of the community."

Treacy opened the 1,000-square-foot Sidecar after Neil Lipton, the owner of a bar at that site, died in January. Lipton's wife, Mary Bau, approached Treacy to buy and take over the location.

"She really felt that Renee Labrana and I had done a tremendous job at The Glenwood and would treat this place with great respect, honor her husband, and carry on the tradition of being part of the community," Treacy said.

"I just love this neighborhood, which is very diverse, and I knew I could open a bar that had a completely different style than The Glenwood."

After all, Sidecar is a martini lounge with a predominantly gay crowd, Treacy said.

"Sidecar is an old, classic cocktail. Plus, since the location right [near a train stop], the name seemed logical," Treacy said. "So far, Sidecar already has been more than I expected. I hear nothing but compliments, and the neighborhood has really embraced it."

Treacy will open Morsel in May, and it will be his largest venture: 3,600 square feet with 220 seats. MaryAnn Culleton is Treacy's business partner at Morsel. Culleton and Labrana are married.

"Customers kept telling me that they wanted a place similar to T's in Rogers Park," Treacy said. "Well, since this place is located on Morse and the El stop, and with the natural food tie, morsel, it will be Morsel."

Morsel will be open seven days a week, Treacy said.

Treacy's impact on the community and, in particular, the economy of Andersonville and Rogers Park is profound. Plus, when he goes out for dinner of drinks in the city, he always stays within the two neighborhoods. "I want to give my money back to the community where I live and work; that's very important to me," said Treacy, who tagged Calo Ristorante, Jin Ju and Anteprima among his favorites.

Treacy said the soft economy over the past few years has definitely impacted business, which he's seen first hand through the eyes—and spending habits—of his customers. When they struggle personally or professionally, Treacy relates and understands.

"You become emotionally attached to the customers; that's the hard part of the job. You really caring about them, about their lives, about their families," he said.

Treacy said he's not sure of his next business venture; he's not even sure what industry it will fall in. "I just like projects; I like doing things—and Tom hates that," he said, laughing.

Will there be more bars? Yes, if the opportunity arises, concentrating on the Rogers Park area, Treacy said. He added there could be more eateries, but nothing else is in the works right now.

"My mind is always open to new ideas," said Treacy, who gleaned his entrepreneur ways from his mom, Eileen, who bought, owned and ran a bar in their native Ireland.

"I always knew, from the time I was a kid, that I was going to move to the U.S. and make it, succeed," Treacy said.

His success has certainly spilled into the LGBT community. He said that he annually donates about $60,000 to LGBT causes. For instance, he offers T's and The Glenwood for free to groups of 25 or more—and then he donates 10 percent of that night's sales to the group.

Treacy also sponsors about 10 sports teams through the local gay leagues.

"That's very important to me," Treacy said. "It means a lot to me that others are out there having fun, doing something that they want to do, something that's healthy, energetic, something that takes their mind away from whatever worries they may have, such as sports."

Away from his establishments, Treacy is admittedly shy. In fact, he often buys tickets to major charity functions, mostly just to support the cause because he rarely even considers attending.

"When I'm outside of my own comfort zone, I'm shy. I don't like going to public places; I don't like going to public events," said Treacy, a jeans-and-T-shirt kind of guy.

"I started T's years ago, and all of the other places since, to better my own life and, in turn, hopefully, help others. Business has been great. I'm blessed—I'm living my own destiny, and I don't think everyone can say that. I'm doing exactly what I'm meant to be doing," Treacy said.


This article shared 6394 times since Wed Mar 28, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

The Northalsted Business Alliance makes statement on Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs
2022-11-23
-- From a press release - The Northalsted Business Alliance shares its thoughts and prayers with our LGBTQ+ family in Colorado suffering from yet another senseless gun tragedy. We mourn the five lives lost and stand with those injured and traumatized. Violent ...


Gay News

Tulsa business attacked after hosting drag event, HRC responds
2022-11-03
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Oct. 31, news broke that a business based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Donut Hole, was vandalized when someone threw a Molotov cocktail — a hand-thrown incendiary weapon — after hosting an event ...


Gay News

WCT's Andrew Davis moves to The TRiiBE, Matt Simonette named WCT Executive Editor
2022-11-01
Windy City Times news release - Longtime Windy City Times executive editor Andrew Davis is stepping down from his post to take a new full-time role as digital news editor of The TRiiBE, an outlet that is working to reshape the narrative ...


Gay News

2023 ELECTIONS Sarandon, Epps back Green; Johnson enters mayoral race
2022-10-31
Chicago mayoral candidate Ja'Mal Green has received the endorsement of two high-profile celebrities in his run, according to a campaign press release. Actress Susan Sarandon and actor/comedian Mike Epps both offered their full support to energize ...


Gay News

Esquire: Chicago has three of the country's 'most fun' LGBTQ+-inclusive bars
2022-10-27
Esquire magazine's editorial staff curated a list of the "most fun and inclusive LGBTQ+-friendly bars"—and the choices may seem surprising. The magazine chose the Uptown spots Big Chicks and Carol's Pub as well as the Andersonville ...


Gay News

Dillin Ravenscraft new ED OF LGBT Chamber of Commerce-Illinois
2022-10-20
-- From a press release - The board of directors for the LGBT Chamber of Commerce — Illinois [LGBTCC] announced the selection of Dillin Ravenscraft as the organization's new executive director, effective Oct. 24. ...


Gay News

THINGS TO DO Open House Chicago taking place Oct. 15-16
2022-10-14
The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is presenting Open House Chicago (OHC) 2022 presented by Wintrust on Oct. 15-16. The public is encouraged to discover a roster of 150+ sites in 20 community areas over the weekend, ...


Gay News

Philadelphia hosts street renaming ceremony for gay tourism expert
2022-10-11
On Oct. 11, Philadelphia officials will honor the late civic pride booster, celebrated author and former Visit Philadelphia President/CEO Jeff Guaracino by renaming a portion of South 13th Street after the tourism marketer and LGBTQ+ trailblazer ...


Gay News

Red Stars name Kim Vender Moffat as board chair and Mike Ernst as interim chief business officer
2022-10-11
-- From a press release - CHICAGO—The Chicago Red Stars announced the changes to the board of directors and front office to further the club's efforts to reorganize leadership. Kim Vender Moffat will now serve as the chairwoman on the board of ...


Gay News

Chicago Marathon adds non-binary division, albeit quietly
2022-10-05
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon—taking place Sunday, Oct. 9, throughout the city—has quietly made a significant change this year. The race will hold a non-binary division for the first time ever, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. ...


Gay News

UpRising Bakery hosts LGBTQ+ history event; protesters still a constant
2022-10-02
A handful of anti-LGBTQ+ protesters regularly stand outside the mall that houses UpRising Bakery and Cafe in Northwest suburban Lake in the Hills. That was the case again Oct. 1, the start of LGBTQ+ History Month, ...


Gay News

Person found dead at Berlin Nightclub
2022-10-02
Police are investigating a death at Berlin, a longtime LGBTQ+ nightclub in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood at 954 W. Belmont Ave., according to ABC 7 Chicago. A 27-year-old person (identified as female by Chicago police, according ...


Gay News

FashionBar hosting Chicago Fashion Week, PFLAG conference
2022-10-01
Fashion Bar announced that it's hosting Chicago Fashion Week. The shows will take place Oct. 16-23 at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave. Additionally, FashionBar will host the. PFLAG Northern Illinois conference at Water Tower ...


Gay News

Molson Coors donates $50,000 to 14 LGBTQ+ organizations through annual Tap Into Change program
2022-09-27
The beverage company Molson Coors presented $50,000 to 14 LGBTQ+ organizations at Sidetrack Sept. 26 as part of its 11th annual Tap Into Change program. Organizations partnered with local bars during the summer to raise money ...


Gay News

City asks Bloomington LGBTQ+ bar to remove Pride artwork
2022-09-25
The city of Bloomington, Illinois has asked an LGBTQ+ bar to remove its Pride decorations, according to Central Illinois Proud. Last month, The Bistro, hosted its annual downtown Pridefest with at least 6,000 attendees from all ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.