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BUSINESS Joie de Vine: Something for everyone
Business Profile
by Ross Forman
2010-09-29

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Lights, cameras … it's all action at Joie De Vine in Andersonville—making the bar a perfect setting for a reality-TV show.

"All of us are characters—the staff, the regulars and the newbies," said the bar's owner, Lori Petrushkevich. "With the recent craze in reality shows, mixologist concoctions and cooking classes, the refined palate is the new black. Everything has improved, wine, spirits and beer, being the latest buzz. Joie De Vine is more than a wine bar. It's a full service bar."

And an award-winning bar, too.

Joie De Vine ( JDV ) was named the Best Lesbian Bar by Chicago Magazine ( August 2010 issue ) , while Halsted Street nightspot Scarlet was named Best Gay Bar.

Petrushkevich said she was "surprised, flattered and honored" to win the award, but she never considered JDV to only be a lesbian bar.

"Yes, Joie De Vine is lesbian-owned and -operated, but I have always considered JDV to be neighborhood bar. JDV is a bar for anyone and everyone, not just the lesbian crowd," Petrushkevich said, "I have been a business owner in Andersonville since 1994 when I opened Karma Salon and Gallery. Just like my hair salon, JDV, which is two storefronts down [ from the salon ] caters to the locals. Anyone who has visited Andersonville will agree on its diverse environment.

"I have always enjoyed being off the beaten path, meaning, not on Clark Street. It's a little building with a lot of character. One of my clients told me years ago that the JDV space was once a bar named Sunny's and Karma was a butcher shop. I would love to see old pictures of what the building previously looked like.

"I pride myself in having a relaxed and welcoming environment [ at both facilities. ] Karma is very laid back and I wanted JDV to have the same vibe for my guests. Karma during the day, Joie at night.

"Joie De Vine is quaint, sexy and cool—an intimate lounge. A number of guests have met their partners at JDV, both gay and straight. We are a popular destination for first dates, couples who like get to cozy and where all meet, mix and mingle with their friends and neighbors."

JDV also caters to the furry, four-legged crowd. Wednesdays on the patio, for example, Bow Wow Lounge hosts the Yappy Hour—an evening for dogs and their owners.

In addition, Joie has hosted everything from baby showers to birthday parties to fundraisers, and recently participated in Bar AIDS, which raises funds for EdgeAlliance ( formerly known as AIDSCare ) .

"We are not your typical tavern. We have better wine, unique spirits and a new focus on craft and local beer. We're taste-focused not brand-focused," Petrushkevich said. "The people who come to JDV are interesting—actors, doctors, dog-walkers, artists, attorneys and more. We all love to socialize, with new and old friends. A lounge where anyone would feel comfortable, safe, happy and welcome. On any given night you can engage in an interesting discussion and make a new connection."

And connections have been made on site since the bar opened in 2004. Joie boasts the work of local artists on its walls, and has hosted live music, burlesque shows and singles events. There is free street-side parking.

But seriously: What's with the name?

"That's the most popular question that often goes un-asked," she said. "It all starts with two words, joy and divine. Who doesn't like to be full of Joie?! And Divine [ is ] one of my favorite actors. Remember, Polyester and Pink Flamingos?"

Petrushkevich said they are not asked about the name's meaning as much as how it is pronounced.

"More often than not, people make their own version or spin on it. We hear 'joey divine' and 'joie de veen,' or simply, 'the wine bar.'

"It is a play on French and English. "

And a fun one at that, for sure.

"I have spent the majority of my working years in hair salons and tending bar," Petrushkevich said. "Mohawks and kamikazes for bass guitarists to Bobs and sex-on-the-beach for ladies who lunch.

"That exposure developed my personality and opened my mind to a variety of wonderful and charming individuals.

"I spent my coming-out years with fellow industry people at places where all were welcome. As years passed and our tastes developed, there was no longer a place that paired well with our maturing taste and forward style. My clients and friends were in need of more than the average bar experience. We wanted a beautiful space where we could chill, sip a glass of wine and carry on a conversation, without compromising the sounds of sexy music. And [ have it be ] local; we wanted to avoid the crowds, the hustle and bustle of downtown. A place within walking distance, where you would be proud … in your neighborhood. Your place. Our place."

Petrushkevich added, "We are always looking for ways to expand our palate." And, "We like to share our discoveries and create new favorites for all. JDV is currently in the process of adding themed evenings in music, tastings ( beer, wine and liquor ) and charitable events.

"I love when I see people smiling, dancing, laughing and enjoying their evening because they walked in the door," Petrushkevich said. "Making their weekend, their evening and their summer, alfresco style on the patio. That's the beauty of Joie—at any moment your evening can be divine.

"A few straight men from down the block and two ladies on their first date from the 'burbs can share smiles and stories over a delicious pitcher of freshly house-made peach sangria.

"I can't count the times people come back to celebrate their first date on their anniversary, or when I have been invited to attend their beautiful weddings. All in all, my visions have become cherished moments for many."

More about Lori Petrushkevich & Joie De Vine:

—Hobbies: "Unwinding at the beach with my pups, releasing at the gym, riding my bicycle and motorcycle. Enjoying our beautiful city."

—Favorite TV shows: Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, United States of Tara, Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Larry King Live, 360 with Anderson Cooper, Top Chef and Project Runway.

—Favorite movies: Baghdad CafĂ©, Kung Fu Hustle, The Hunger, Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Life Less Ordinary, Before Night Falls and Sweetie

—Favorite wine by the glass: The Tango Club, red and white: "At $5 a glass, you will be pleasantly surprised. Both the malbec/syrah and torrontes are worth twice the price."

—Favorite wine by the bottle: "Moletto Raboso, which makes any evening a memorable one. [ It's ] aged in oak for two years with hints of cherry and vanilla."

—Favorite beer: "Never did I anticipate the complexity or variety of beer. Over the past few months I have grown to love IPAs [ India Pale Ales ] , Belgium quads and white ales. At this moment, I look forward to a He Brew's Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A or a White Rascal Witbier from Avery Brewing Company."

—Favorite cocktail: "Our fresh-squeezed, homemade watermelon and cucumber infusion on the rocks. The salted cucumber spear is delectable as it compliments the sweet summer melon."

—Best thing about Chicago: "The mix of cultures. I love the city, the people, the different neighborhoods."

—It's a fact: "During the development of the bar, I discovered artifacts and memorabilia from the former bar in the trap floor door. I had the ideas, visions and design in my head. The much-noticed and loved wine racks were an idea of mine that my niece had constructed. The back bar, the colored squares of Plexiglas are reflections of my love affair with warehouse windows."

—About bartending: "From Los Angeles to The Closet [ in Chicago ] , I really loved bartending. The energy, the speed, the feeling of being on stage. Ironically, most who see me or meet me, only know me as the quiet one in the corner."

—Ideal order: "What do you love? What are you in the mood for? What do you need? Give us the basics, [ such as ] , sweet, sour, rocks, shaken, etc., and we will impress you and your taste buds. Don't get us wrong, we have what it takes to make a fierce gin and tonic, but step out of your cocktail comfort zone and you are sure to fall in love. Again and again, 'tini after 'tini, collins upon collins, your evening will never be the same."

—Yum!: An organic cucumber liqueur, a pistachio cordial and sweet Michigan cherries soaked in small batch whiskey are just a few of the special ingredients that JDV swirls and shakes into house made creations.

—Closing remark: "Thoughtfulness and hard work from my staff over the years and my business partner, Sandy Northrup, have kept JDV moving forward," according to Petrushkevich.


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