Royal Oak Bars Expanding for Spring


ROYAL OAK — Something is brewing at the corner of 5th and Main in downtown Royal Oak this spring. Restaurants that have drawn customers for years are transforming or expanding – all in the name of craft beer.

Café Habana will make way for Monk, a Belgian Beer Abbey. Commune Lounge will become Craft, and Bastone Brewery will expand to two levels. Vinotecca will feature a new wine and food menu. All locations are part of Union Brewery LLC., whose owners invested $300,000 to make these changes possible and to improve the overall experience at each venue. All three projects are expected to be completed and open spring 2013.

On February 24, and after nine successful years, Café Habana closed its doors, allowing the owners to develop the space as Monk.
“It wasn’t without hesitation that we closed Café Habana,” said David Ritchie, an operating partner of Union Brewery LLC. “Café Habana has always had very solid sales, but we decided to move forward with our plan to strengthen the Belgian theme that Bastone Brewery was built on.”

Loyal Café Habana customers can look forward to future plans that include a new, bigger space elsewhere in Royal Oak.
In the meantime, newcomer Monk will offer a deep, rich monastery feel with wood that will reach 10 feet high along its walls. A lantern style lighting package will accentuate the natural color scheme. Monk will follow a similar layout to Café Habana, but will feature new banquettes and tables. Other changes include: new doorways, an expanded kitchen, a new sit-down counter and flatscreen TV’s. Seating capacity will remain the same inside, but Monk will add a new outdoor patio with 36 seats along 5th Street. Monk’s menu will offer unique chef-created burgers, mussels, frites, and waffle sandwiches. In addition to serving Bastone Brewery’s Belgian style craft beer, guests can expect an extensive bottled Belgian beer list as well as French wine selections.  Monk will open every day at 4 p.m. for dinner only.

Next door, the Bastone Brewery expansion will add 1,500 square feet to Bastone’s floor plan in the space along 5th Street on two levels. The main floor expansion will add six tables for guests, and the second floor, which will overlook Bastone’s bar, will have a capacity of 20. It will be designated for private parties.

To celebrate the expansion, Bastone Brewery has released new imagery for its six signature beers on tap, which will be featured in new advertising, branding, social media, merchandise, and apparel.

Located beneath Bastone Brewery, the venue, currently known as Commune Lounge, will soon be renovated and re-emerge as Craft. The new concept aims to create a hip, 1970s look and feel. Imagine vintage record players, bicycles, Edison bulbs, wallpaper, wood panels, and a fresh color scheme. Additionally, a wall of old speakers will be installed behind the bar to add to the whimsical basement vibe. Craft will feature a new stage for live music on Wednesday and Thursday nights; and will continue to welcome a DJ Friday and Saturday nights.

“We want it to embody the craft of musicians as well as the craft of beer, spirits and unique cocktails,” said Ritchie.

Craft, in addition to keeping absinthe on the menu, will serve an array of exclusive craft beer cocktails, craft spirits – such as Civilized – a full bar, Bastone beer and more.

New websites and social media networks are in progress to be launched for each venue. Of note, Vinotecca Wine Bar will remain as it is, but will offer a new menu this year.