The Union Market District has many, many draws (two huge marketplaces, rooftop professional tennis, Stephen Starr). But as of now, a divey, inexpensive bar isn’t one of them. That’s all about to change when veteran bartender Gina Chersevani opens Last Call on Friday, October 18.
The booze joint takes over a 1940s-era cafeteria (most recently named J&P) that’s been closed for years. Chersevani, who runs Buffalo & Bergen at Union Market and outdoor frozen drink cart Suburbia, also suspects the space was a real-life speakeasy.
“There’s no documentation, we just know there were two prohibition bars in the Union Market District,” says Chersevani. “We were scraping the walls and found green coloring used by bars in the time and a door within a door.”
That said, don’t expect any cutesy passcodes or mustachioed bartenders mixing $17 martinis. Drinks are $7 or less (save for some sipping spirits) and will mostly consist of beers—including $3 and $4 pints—shots, and frozen concoctions. Chersevani, who makes everything from frozen Manhattans to frosé at her other bars, is turning her attention to icy Irish coffees for Last Call (fitting if you want to make it until 2 AM). The drink, inspired by the storied version at Erin Rose in New Orleans, is a frosty mix of Jameson, Tia Maria, cold brew, homemade vanilla syrup, and fresh cream topped with half a shot of Chartreuse and coffee grounds. There’s also a lowbrow beer play on a spritz: the “Aperol Schlitz.”
“This is going to be an exercise in how much fun it is when you create an affordable place,” says Chersevani. “We’re forgetting that affordability is a factor in fun.”
Also fun: a pool table in the back and TVs for watching sports. If you want something to eat, there will be snacks like French onion dip and a handful of paper-wrapped sandwiches including a muffuletta, Cuban, and “something vegan.”
The bar is inspired by Chersevani’s favorite dives like Wolksi’s in Milwaukee and NYC’s Bar 169. Overall, she’s going for something “like the Raven, just a little cleaner.”
“I love that bar,” says Chersevani of the Mount Pleasant hangout. “It’s dark, the beer is always cold, the service is always lukewarm, and you can just be yourself.”
Last Call will be open seven days a week from 5:30 PM until, well, you know.
Last Call. 1301-A Fourth St., NE
This post has been updated with additional information.