LOGAN SQUARE — A coffee bar and lounge with beer on tap could be coming to the corner of Diversey and Drake avenues in Logan Square.
Mark Pallman, the owner of the Charles Bradley mural building at 3520 W. Diversey Ave., is seeking to open a spot called Consignment Lounge on the ground floor.
In addition to serving coffee and beer, Pallman plans to fill the space with the vintage finds and “weird oddities” he comes across at auctions and estate sales. He’ll put them all up for sale, hence the name Consignment Lounge.
The lounge would function like a coffee shop, but with a rotating selection of beer on tap, Pallman said. Pallman said he’s not planning to keep the business open past 10 p.m.
“I’m not aiming to create a place that’s super crowded with a line out the door,” he said. “I want to create a space that’s uniquely its own that the neighborhood can enjoy.”
The project is in the early stages. Pallman has worked on getting the business off the ground since last fall and recently entered the city approval phase.
Pallman is working with Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa’s 35th Ward office and neighbors in hopes of lifting the liquor moratorium on the block. If the moratorium is lifted, he plans to apply for a special use permit, which is required of taverns.
Billy Drew, Ramirez-Rosa’s legislative and policy director, said the alderman introduced an ordinance to lift the liquor moratorium Thursday. Ramirez-Rosa supports the business proposal, Drew said.
Should the project come to fruition, it would be a dream realized for Pallman, who said he’s always wanted to open his own small business.
The 36-year-old grew up at his family’s camera store, Roberts Camera, in his hometown of Indianapolis, which inspired him to pursue photography and filmmaking as a career. He worked for Chicago production company Optimus, making commercials for advertisement agencies for a decade before deciding to go freelance and open his own coffee lounge.
“Having a shop someday was always something in the back of my head,” Pallman said.
Pallman has lived in Logan Square since 2014 and has been in Chicago since 2009. Last May, he bought the Diversey Avenue building — recognizable for its large mural of the soul artist Charles Bradley — as an investment property, thinking he’d rent the ground floor to a local record label.
When those plans fell through, Pallman set out to open his own business where he could share his love of antiques with the neighborhood.
Over the past several months, Pallman has amassed a collection of vintage finds he plans to sell at the coffee shop: neon signs, old advertisements, taxidermy, old movie posters, needlepoint artwork — “anything I find to be really fun to look at or makes me laugh,” he said.
“I’ve always been an aesthetically-driven person who wants to create spaces that people like to be in,” Pallman said.
Pallman hopes to open Consignment Lounge in the spring. He said between the coronavirus pandemic, the city approval process and renovations, he still has a long road ahead.
The space is a “vanilla box,” Pallman said, and he hopes to transform it into a comfortable spot neighbors can enjoy. The previous tenants used the space as a live/work setup. Prior to that, it was home to a beauty salon for many years, Pallman said.
“Right now it’s like a glorified storage space with a bunch of the stuff I’ve been buying and a half-finished construction zone,” he said. “There are so many things that need to happen.
“It doesn’t seem real yet. I’m hopeful the stars align and we can actually open and people enjoy being there.”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.