Preparing for a busy holiday season ahead, Tom’s Town Distilling Co. co-owners David Epstein and Steve Revare have relaunched The Vault, the party room located in the back of their almost 3-year-old distillery.

The space has always been open to the public on a first come, first serve basis. Last week, the two founders hosted a party to celebrate the opening of the space, newly christened as the Pendergast Lounge. The redesigned space is a tribute to Tom Pendergast, the infamous political boss of Prohibition-era Kansas City and namesake of the distillery.

“The Pendergast Lounge is a place that Tom Pendergast and his crew would feel very comfortable drinking some of his finest creations,” Epstein says.

The entire room underwent sweeping décor changes in homage to Kansas City in the roaring 1920s. The room now has a luxurious and iconic Art Deco-era vibe that matches with the rest of the tasting room. A distressed mural is painted on the exposed brick south wall of the new Pendergast Lounge. Done by Gary Wilks, it features the logo for T.J. Pendergast Wholesale Liquor Co. and looks frozen in time, almost as though it has always been there.  

Tom's Town Pendergast Lounge

The gas fireplace is still the focal point of the room, with a color portrait of Pendergast hanging above it. There is soft lighting and new furniture in the space, including deep leather couches and vintage-inspired high-back chairs with velvet ottomans. Guests can also look forward to monthly live jazz performances in the space that will marry booze and jazz in the same way that Prohibition did in Kansas City all those years ago.

“[Pendergast] owned the world of Kansas City nightlife, and we wanted to create a place where Kansas City could come party like it’s 1939,” says Epstein. “It’s all about the booze, the laughter and a roaring fireplace.”

To incorporate the distillery’s location in the Crossroads Arts District into the new space, Epstein and Revare reached out to local artist Hubbard Savage, who painted six portraits of famous Kansas Citians to hang inside the Pendergast Lounge. They include modern renderings of Madame Annie Chambers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carry Nation, Charlie Parker, Nell Donnelly Reed and “Bullet” Joe Rogan and are an ode to Kansas City’s history and the people who helped give the city the nickname “Paris of the Plains.”

The cozy, speakeasy-style lounge is also available for private events, accommodating up to 50 people for a cocktail-style gathering or 35 people for a seated dinner.

With the new Pendergast Lounge open before Halloween, the owners of Tom’s Town warn guests that they should be prepared for some haunted happenings. “The ghost of Mr. Pendergast is watching over all of us in the Pendergast Lounge, so come thirsty,” jokes Epstein.

The lounge is open on a first come, first serve basis Monday from 4 to 10pm, Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 11:30pm and Friday and Saturday from 2pm to midnight.

Tom’s Town Distilling Co., 1701 Main St., Crossroads Arts District,, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.541.2400, toms-town.com

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