If you walk into Kevin Milligan’s gallery at 408 Hartz Avenue, you’ll notice a LARGE piece of art in progress that is not hanging on the walls and is not for sale.
It’s a bar, being crafted by local artisans Tom Walsh and Dan Parks. Walsh is carving a relief design into the bar’s front, and Parks is topping it off with acid-stained cement.
When the structure is completed and Milligan has jumped through all the necessary and expensive regulatory hoops, you’ll be able to enjoy a glass of wine in an art-suffused venue. Until then, this gallery owner has a license to sell unopened wine by the bottle or case.
“I view the setting as an art gallery that happens to have a wine bar,” says Milligan, adding that “art and wine go well together.” Even though Cork’s wine bar, across the street from the gallery, recently closed, Milligan says that “the neighborhood is becoming known as a wine-tasting destination.” Just up Hartz from the gallery sits Vines, which opened a couple of years ago. And on Prospect Avenue is relatively new arrival Vinoteca. On tap to open in the near future is Wild Vine Lounge on Prospect Lane.
Wine sales are bound to add to Milligan’s bottom line. He notes that he has been able to continue to sell art even during the recession. Commission work has been steady too, he says. “People come to the gallery and ask me if I can make a custom painting or mural for their home and or business. Sometimes they ask for custom work from other artists represented at the gallery.”
Milligan has also benefited from the economic-stimulus program, which helped pay for the costly permits required for outdoor seating. Patrons will eventually be able to sip en plein air.
A plein-air optimist, Milligan sums it up thus: “It is all good!”