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Capone's expanding next door

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Capone’s Downtown Speakeasy will expand into 3 Public Square with two entryways – one where the TV is hanging, and the other will be where the bartop is, so the bartop can pass through to the new space.
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Capone’s Downtown Speakeasy will expand into this building, 3 Public Square. So far, owner Karen Smith has stripped some of the walls down to brick. Smith plans to cut two holes in the brick wall to connect Capone’s with 3 Public Square. The non-brick wall in this photo will be torn out, and a kitchen will be added in that space.

By HANNAH GUNNELL - hgunnell@shelbynews.com

Capone’s Downtown Speakeasy will double its space by expanding into the building next door.

Co-owner Karen Smith said that she decided to buy the building, 3 Public Square, in May because she wanted to have more space for customers. The new space will add 1,200 square feet to Capone’s, doubling the total square footage.

“We’re interested in making the downtown a gathering place again,” she said.

Smith said she intends to make the new space feel more like a lounge setting. She plans to furnish the new side with speakeasy-like furniture such as bucket chairs.

“(I want) to make people more comfortable in coming in,” she said. “I think people want to come in, sit and gather, and just talk, and that will be more of your quieter side than just your bar side.”

Smith also intends to rent out the new space as a private venue.

She will keep the current space as a bar setting.

“We’re going to keep this as the bar, live music side, and (the new space) will be the social, lounge kind of feel,” she said.

The walls of the new space have been stripped to brick, but that is the only part of the renovation that has begun. Smith is waiting on plans from the state before she can start cutting into walls.

She plans to have two openings in the wall between the new space and the bar. The first opening will be by the bartop area. Smith plans on expanding the bartop into the new space.

Smith said she is rebuilding the bartop to fit the “roaring ‘20s feel” but no decisions have been made on what the new bartop will look like.

The second opening is marked by the TV hanging on the wall inside the current space.

“We will definitely be able to bring in more people,” Smith said. “There will be people that want to definitely have it as a place to rent for their special occasion.”

The new space will have a bathroom in the back corner of the building.

Smith will also put a small kitchen in the new space, behind where the bartop will be. When the kitchen is complete, Capone’s will start serving appetizers, sandwiches and “more of your healthier option menu.”

“There is a chance that we may open at lunch for limited lunch menu and we may make it family-friendly during certain hours of the day,” she said. “There’s a good chance. It’s not set in stone. It is something we are looking at with opening the kitchen.”

Smith said she hopes to get the openings in the wall cut within the next two weeks because her husband is having surgery at the end of August, and she doesn’t want him to worry about the expansion while he is recovering.

“Once the holes get in the wall, we will be motivated to get more done quicker,” she said.

Smith plans on using the second floor of the new building to rent out as a private venue as well. She wants to finish the first floor before beginning renovations on the second floor.

“Eventually we will move upstairs on that side,” she said. “That hasn’t been touched since 1953. There’s a lot of renovations that need to be done up there, so we want to get the bottom part finished first.”

In addition to adding the new space, Smith will also add a garage door in place of the cracked window, repaint the outside, replace all of the doors, and expand the stage.

The spiral staircase next to the front door will be moved so Smith can expand the stage over to the front door. The staircase will be placed in the new building.

This part of the project will allow for bigger bands to play. Currently, the stage only holds a band of 7, Smith said.

“With the extra space, it will be nicer,” she said. “We can move (the tables) and there will be a nice dance floor, so I’m excited.”

The renovations should be completed by October. Smith said the renovations will cost around $40,000, not including the purchase of the new space.