Abar stocked with a large selection of booze and a variety of cold beer on tap, manned by a bartender who knows every regular’s name — and, more importantly, how to prepare their favorite drink.
A kitchen that pumps out an assortment of wings, sandwiches and other kinds of comfort food, prepared from scratch with a selection of quality ingredients yet still cheap and unpretentious, just as patrons expect.
A few pool tables, placed beneath dimly lit lamps, with a jukebox churning out familiar tunes a few feet away.
Remedy, South Bend’s newest dive bar, doesn’t stray too far from the formula that has made the stereotypical hole-in-the-wall such an iconic part of American nightlife: good booze, tasty food and a laidback, welcoming atmosphere.
To make the business stand out, owners Bryan Robertson, Hilary Maich and Eamonn McParland are bringing the same energy and sensibilities to the bar top that have made the trios’ previous two South Bend ventures a hit with customers.
“We’re just going to separate ourselves by doing it better,” Eamonn says.
Located at 1902 South Bend Ave., Remedy is an old-school neighborhood bar with a modern, artistic twist, the owners say.
Inspired by the kind of hip establishments that are popular in New York City, Chicago, Boston and other metropolises, Remedy’s black and grey primary color scheme is intermixed with rustic wood paneling and flashy street-style art, which resembles the kinds of spray-painted works often seen decorating the sides of buildings in major cities. Beneath the black top of the bar area are sheets of ribbed grey metal, while hanging above is a yellow-and-black colored mural.
Even the name of the bar, Remedy — the logo for which looks like it was created with a can of black spray paint — is meant to be a catchy, urban-sounding name, Bryan says. There’s no major story behind the choice, the owner continues — the title says everything about the purpose of the bar.
“Everybody likes to have a drink after a bad day,” Bryan says. “Everyone likes to have a drink after a good day.”
Bryan and his wife, Hilary, purchased the South Bend Avenue building along with their longtime friend and business partner, Eamonn, in November.
The young restaurateurs — who launched their first business venture, contemporary American eatery Render, in July 2016, followed by a barbecue joint, Fat Cap Smoked Meats, in December 2017 — initially used the former pool hall and tavern as the home of a holiday-themed pop-up bar, Miracle on the Ave.
Encouraged by the success of Miracle, which closed at the end of 2018, the team decided to put their heads together and come up with a concept for a bar that would continue to attract a crowd outside Christmastime, coming up with the street-savvy Remedy.
“Our idea behind this is to put all of our skills to use: Hilary’s culinary training and Eamonn’s culinary training and my front of house training,” Bryan says. “We really thought we could make a go of it, and utilize this space.”
The three employed the services of Chicago artists Gabriel Moskolis and Antonio “Ant Ben” Beniquez to mold the building into their vision for the bar. The pair are responsible for the pop-style murals that line the walls of the bar, each piece containing a catchy quote next to the figure depicted in it.
The owners gave the pair a great deal of creative freedom, as the artists have experience producing pieces for businesses around the Windy City, Bryan says.
“We’re kind of like, ‘Here you go, here’s a canvas, make it happen,’” he says.
In addition to the décor, the business has seating for 16 at the bar and an additional 68 in the dining room area, with big-screen TVs set up throughout for customers looking to catch the big game alongside some company. Remedy also has a couple of pool tables near the front entrance for those who enjoy some billiards with their booze, as well as a stage in the back, though live music will not be a main priority of the business, at least for now, Bryan says.
What the bar will focus on is providing customers with a great selection of affordable drinks. In addition to stocking a gamut of liquors and a small selection of wines, Remedy will have 10 beers on tap and another 35 in cans and bottles.
Those interested in some grub to go along with their drinks will have plenty to look forward to as well. Chef Eamonn has created a modestly-sized menu of affordable dishes, all prepared from scratch with a focus on quality over quantity, he says.
“When you keep the menu small, that’s how you’re able to put out quality products,” Eamonn says. “We do that at every spot. We don’t have these massive menus. We do what we do, and we do it well.”
In addition to appetizers such as fried pickles and french fries and entrees like hamburgers, Cuban sandwiches and barbacoa tacos, a main focus of Remedy’s kitchen will be its wings, which are served with the customer’s choice of 15 house-made sauces and rubs, including the traditional Buffalo, a dry coffee barbecue and a honey sriracha sauce. The bar plans to offer discounts on wings every Wednesday to offer customers a local alternative to large chain restaurants, Bryan says.
While Remedy may be located in the shadow of Notre Dame University, the owners say that — true to their mission of making the spot a water hole for the entire community — they are not aiming for any particular age or demographic.
“Our target market is to make everyone comfortable,” Bryan says. “Whether it’s older gentlemen that are getting done after playing a round of golf or it’s college kids who show up at 1 a.m. — we don’t care. We just want people to be comfortable.”