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RUM CLUB, Chicago’s newest Cuban-inspired restaurant and cabaret, will be opening in the fall of 2015 at 601 N Wells Street in River North. Two very passionate men in hospitality, Phil Stefani and Adolfo Garcia, are joining forces on the project.

The property at 601 N Wells St. is owned by Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants. Mr. Stefani and his team had been looking for the right concept - a boutique style restaurant and intimate experience. Having looked up to Mr. Stefani for many years, Adolfo was thrilled to be given the opportunity to bring his latest concept to life in the vacant space.

"Those closest to me know that my true passion is designing and creating beautiful restaurants, so to be given the opportunity to do it with an incredible and professional team is a dream come true," said Garcia.

The meeting happened not long ago while the two were catching up over a drink. News surrounding the Cuban embargo being lifted sparked a conversation about its rich history and culture, the music and the cuisine. Lustful thoughts of Cuban cigars, rum cocktails and the Caribbean led to a promise that they would soon take a trip together to Cuba.

While talking about how the embargo lift would affect the hospitality industry and culinary trends it was agreed that rum is already becoming the next big thing. Cuba and its people have brought so much to this world: music, art, culture and delicious flavors. The traditional Spanish recipes made distinct by African influence and local tropical flavor make Cuban cuisine unlike any other. The drinks? Well...

“Before there was whisky there was rum!”

During prohibition in America, the Caribbean (especially Havana, Cuba) played a large role in creating the underground drinking speakeasy and cabaret. The flavors, the music, and the mystique of that sultry and glamorous era inspired Garcia to develop Rum Club with the support and experience of the team at Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants.

"In some ways Cuba may appear stuck in its pre-revolutionary era, but despite the political controversy there are beautiful characteristics of the era that inspired us when developing Rum Club," said Adolfo. "The Hotel Nacional and its collection of photographs of mobsters, celebrities and musicians. La Tropicana still features nightly cabaret, and La Floridita to this day is known worldwide for outstanding rum cocktails."

The concept is inspired by the 1940s and 50s when Cuba and other Caribbean islands were playing host to celebrities like Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra and Ernest Hemingway. Cuba's tropical beauty and tropical beauties played a large role in tourism and revenue. In the 1950s, Cabaret Quarterly Magazine described Cuba as "A mistress of pleasure. The lush and opulent goddess of delights!"

At Rum Club guests can expect nothing less than the largest rum selection in the country, bartenders in pink tuxedos, waitresses in floral dresses, simple and true ingredients, Cuban cuisine and the feeling of an intimate speakeasy cabaret with a small center stage to host Cuban bands and Afro-Cuban jazz.

The décor will be 1940s and 50s island chic with palm tree wall paper, gold leaf oval ceilings, a brass bar, 8-foot mounted marlin, and cement tiles imported from the Dominican Republic.

With Adolfo’s unique creativity and the ability to translate it into an experience, and the support of hospitality giant Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, Rum Club promises to bring customers back to the roaring 50s in Havana Cuba.


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