WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Washington Square in Washington is welcoming at least two new bars this year.
W Down Under opened on April 17 in the former Blacksmith location on Washington Square. It’s owned and operated by mother-son duo Patricia Kane and Tim Figueroa.
“We wanted a bar in a small community that we can get to know our customers and hopefully get to know new people in our community,” said Figueroa.
The upscale bar offers martinis, draft beer, bar snacks and Instagram-worthy photo ops.
“I think it’s great for our community and especially being on the square,” said Figueroa.
Later this year, the highly anticipated Grist Mill Brewpub will open in the former Le Bakery space.
“We’re excited about everything that’s happening… The second-floor rooftop is going to be phenomenal. People will be able to get 9-10 months out there with heat lamps to be able to enjoy the square,” said Washington Mayor Gary Manier.
Manier said the project hit some snags due to construction costs, adding $3 million for a total cost of $9 million.
“So they had to scramble and do some different things with inside the building. They put some Airbnbs in the backside to help,” said Manier.
W Down Under co-owner Patricia Kane said the best part about opening their bar on Washington Square is meeting all the people.
“It’s a place where everybody comes around. You have all these different people from different communities and stuff like that… I’ve met a lot of people that I didn’t know before this, so its been pretty good,” she said.
Manier said while the square is already home to multiple boutique shops, the two new drinking and dining establishments are much-needed additions that will draw more people from surrounding communities.
“It’s kind of transformational sometimes when new businesses either change, remodel…You see a lot of families from Eureka, Bloomington, Normal, Morton, Metamora, Germantown hills come in and just walk the square on Saturdays and maybe grab a coffee at Faire Coffee and enjoy their morning. Now we’ll have an opportunity to stay and have lunch, so we’re excited about it,” he said.