Rockit Ranch buys Martini Ranch

Online poll will help determine concept for a new late-night bar and restaurant

  • Customers at Martini Ranch in River North
Customers at Martini Ranch in River North (RedEye file photo )
September 18, 2012|By Lisa Arnett | RedEye

Just two months after opening Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ in River North, local nightlife group Rockit Ranch is gearing up to open another new hangout.

Rockit Ranch CEO Billy Dec announced on his blog, A Chicago Thing, that Rockit Ranch has purchased River North bar Martini Ranch, a late-night bar just steps from the Chicago Avenue Brown Line station.

As for what exactly Rockit Ranch will do with the space, it looks like that’s to be determined with the help of Chicagoans. Dec has invited fans to help determine the space’s fate by voting in an online poll. Choices include “a play on a dive bar,” a taco bar, or a combination of both. Or none of the above, meaning fans can leave a comment with their idea.

"Usually we have a concept and we look for a space," said Dec. "This is the first time we were like, 'Snatch that up! Now, what do you want to do with it?'"

Dec and his partners at Rockit Ranch, Brad Young and Arturo Gomez, all have memories of Martini Ranch when it was at the height of its popularity in the '90s. "In the last decade its kind of [turned into] a little more homey, divey kind of thing," said Deck. "At one point, it was the glam spot, for sure, when it first opened." Dec even worked as a bouncer there. 

The late-night liquor license as well as the proximity to the newly revamped Chicago Avenue Brown Line station also fueled their interest in the venue, Dec said. 

Dec plans to announce the new bar's concept on his blog on Sept. 28 to work toward a late 2012 opening. When the new venue opens, The Underground will close temporarily. "We're going to do a really cool sort of spruce-up, give Underground a little lift, a fresh look," Dec said.

Rockit Ranch also owns Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda, The Underground and Rockit Burger Bar.

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