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Chicago’s Bottleneck Management Set To Open Its Sixth Restaurant Venue

February 8, 2013

Chicago-based restaurant development firm Bottleneck Management will open its sixth location next month. The new venue, to be called Howells & Hood, will be a 17,000-square-foot space on the lobby floor of the Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago. The restaurant, named for the architects who designed the Tribune Tower, will have seating for 600 diners and three separate bars with 360 beer taps in total. It will offer draft beer only, supported by a cooler room with space for 600 beer barrels.

Founded in 2001, Bottleneck operates five other restaurant-tavern concepts in the Chicago market: Old Town Pour House, Trace, Sweetwater Tavern & Grille, The Boundary Tavern & Grille and South Branch Tavern & Grille.

The company already owns the previous title for biggest draft beer house in Chicago with Old Town Pour House—which features 120 tap handles, 90% of them craft brands. Bottleneck vice president of operations Ken Hendricks says the company has been inspired by the success of the California-based Yard House Restaurants chain, which has a branch in the Chicago suburb of Glenview with more than 100 tap handles.

“We began to invest heavily in the draft business after our research found it’s the only segment in the drinks industry that’s grown at double-digit rates over the past five years,” Hendricks says. “We think it’s a good place to put our money.” Bottleneck’s top seller is Allagash Brewing Co. White from Portland, Maine.

Bottleneck is considering expansion, either into the Chicago suburbs or to new major markets. “We think we have a concept we can take to other places,” he says.


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