Visitors to downtown Plymouth are on the verge of getting a taste of something never before offered in the city: a high-end craft cocktail lounge and tasting room that its operators assure will offer a variety of fun and educational experiences, including a class labeled “Whiskey 101”.
Six weeks after the Liquor License Review Committee recommended that the Plymouth City Commission deny a liquor license to Highline Spirits because it didn’t have a solid enough food-service plan, the Dexter-based company’s license request was approved after its owners went back to the application drawing board.
Highline founder and CEO Christi Lower explained during a public hearing at Monday’s city commission meeting that her company has reached agreements with at least 10 licensed food catering companies that will provide substantive food offerings throughout the business’s hours of operation, which are tentatively set for 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
In addition to always-available pre-packaged food options, Highline will offer themed meal events; for instance, Thai food on Thursdays, sushi on Fridays and Sunday brunch and barbecue.
“We are seeking to create a craft cocktail lounge and tasting room … to provide an opportunity for patrons to peek behind the curtain to the traditional spirits industry, participate in cocktail classes, whiskey blending classes and spirts master classes,” the business plan states.
‘High end approachable atmosphere’
“We are not a bar. We are only serving spirits that we produce. Therefore, we are not serving Jack Daniels or Grey Goose.
“We would like to produce a high end approachable neighborhood atmosphere where the community and visitors leave experiencing all that Plymouth and Highline have to offer.”
Lower said the business will be a prime location for adult parties — from birthdays to business bond-building events.
Highline Spirits will be leasing the space at 330 S. Main Street that was occupied by Wiltse’s Pharmacy before its owners retired in 2021.
Interior restored to its 1893 glory
Andy Winnie, the property’s owner, emphasized during the public hearing that he wanted the new tenant of his 1,800-square-foot space to offer a unique service to downtown Plymouth.
“We didn’t want to lease it to just anybody,” Winnie explained. “We were approached by real estate companies, financial services companies, coffee shops.
“When Jeff and Christi (Lower) explained their idea to my wife and I, we thought it was incredibly unique and something that will draw people to downtown Plymouth. We don’t think Plymouth needs another coffee shop.”
Winnie said he’s completed an extensive restoration of the building’s interior.
“We cleaned up the interior brick walls and exposed its original hardwood floors,” he said. “We brought it back to its original 1893 glory.”
Thorough vetting process
For the license application to be approved — it was the final of 30 liquor licenses available to downtown Plymouth — a comprehensive list of 23 requirements had to be met.
Voting in favor Highline’s application were Mayor Nick Moroz, and commissioners Marques Thomey, Kelly O’Donnell and Jennifer Kehoe.
Mayor Pro Tem Suzi Deal and Commissioner Linda Filipczak voted against approving the application.
Commissioner Alanna Maguire was absent.
Deal reiterated that she loved the concept of the business, but the City had set a precedence of requiring businesses that served alcohol to have an on-site kitchen available.
“If we approve this, what would we tell prospective owners who we’ve denied in the past because their plan didn’t include a kitchen,” Deal explained.
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