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Downtown speakeasy open for business

Last Friday a new establishment officially added to downtown Kokomo’s retinue of nighttime offerings.

The Cellar opened its doors for the first time, giving new life to the space below Wing’s Etc. that’s played host to a comedy club and a cigar bar. Now, owner Kelli Malinowski hopes to take advantage of the basement space located at 113 E. Sycamore St., evoking the seclusive and exclusive feeling of a speakeasy while providing modern drinks and food.

Over the course of the last year Malinowski prepped the basement space on East Sycamore Street, filling the bar with wooden tables and red, leather seats and couches. There’s a rustic, classy feel to the establishment, which is dominated by a traditional-looking bar space surrounded by exposed stone walls and low ceilings.

Ahead of its opening last week Malinowski touted her plans for The Cellar. A veteran of the local restaurant scene, the newly-minted bar owner has utilized what she’s learned over the years to mold her establishment’s offerings.

For example, the now-defunct Sycamore Grill once offered an extensive martini menu when Malinowski worked there. She drew upon her experiences at the grill, crafting her own martini offerings that span the gamut from traditional cocktails containing vodka or gin to flavorful, off-the-wall mixes. In total, the martini menu will boast 30 different mixtures.

There’s the Snickertini, which Malinowski said will evoke the taste of the popular candy bar from which the beverage draws its name.

She’s also put together a selection of 35 beers for customers. Malinowski admits she’s newer to the world of beer, but she’s open to suggestions from the public on how to tailor her beer offerings.

“I’m the type of person that I’m really open to suggestions from the community,” said Malinowski. “If I have several people wanting a certain beer I’m going to make sure it’s here.”

The Cellar also has a kitchen. Menu offerings mostly focus on flatbreads, pizzas, and sandwiches. There are also appetizers, which include a shrimp cocktail, an Indiana Caprese, and a sliced garlic focaccia and marinara.

On Sundays Malinowksi plans to deviate from her typical menu, offering a build-your-own bloody mary selection. From 12 to 8 p.m. customers will be able to pick from 12 different toppings and four different bloody mary juices to create their drink of choice.

As far as entertainment, The Cellar’s owner said she has plans for the future, but the space itself limits her options.

Within a few months, though, she said she hopes to start hosting a comedy night or small acoustic bands once or twice a month.

Above all, Malinowski said she hopes the The Cellar’s moniker of “where friends meet” holds true.

“I really, really would like for people to come down here and meet new people,” said Malinowski. “I just want it to feel like family down here. I’ve worked in a couple different bars over the years, and I love that feeling. I love it when people from different backgrounds come together, and that’s what my slogan is, ‘Where friends meet.’ I would like that. It would be great for people to make it their little homey bar.”

The Cellar will be open six days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday, from 3 to 11 or 12 p.m. Closing time, however, will vary depending upon crowds.

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