New Black-Owned Cocktail Lounge in Michigan Pays Homage to Pioneer Black Mixologists

New Black-Owned Cocktail Lounge in Michigan Pays Homage to Pioneer Black Mixologists

A new Black-owned cocktail bar is opening in Kalamazoo, MI, and aims to give roses to pioneering Black mixologists and celebrate Black culture.

With a menu boasting a unique twist on soul food classics, Dabney & Co. is sure to stand out when it opens later this summer. The new lounge will be housed at 344 N. Rose Street on the northeast corner of West Kalamazoo Avenue and North Rose, M Live reports.

Founded by Cleveland native turned Kalamazoo resident Daniel J. May after a 2018 Juneteenth bar crawl helped him see the need for more diverse lounges that accommodate people of color.

“At Dabney & Co., our goal is to be a hub of diversity and to make downtown look more representative of the people who live in this community,” May said.

“We plan to really emphasize inclusion and make sure all people are welcome in our establishment.”

After relocating to Kalamazoo in 2009, the 32-year-old saw the need for more inclusive entertainment-based venues. May would eventually launch his own company Public Skool where he put together diverse events aimed at bringing people together.

Through Public Skool, May organized Sunday day parties, an annual Juneteenth Freedom Dinner, and a celebration known as AfroFest. But the activations were just the beginning of a bigger vision May had for the city.

May is in the process of finishing up his MBA online through the University of Illinois’s Gies College of Business. But he still lept at the opportunity to open his own lounge in the sophisticated aged brick building Dabney & Co. is now located.

The menu will include eccentric spins on soul food like black-eyed peas hummus and collared green salads. Signature craft cocktails will also be served while guests can enjoy sounds of soul, funk, jazz, R&B, and disco music.

“We believe that part of how he heal our country and our communities is by being more involved with each other and what better way to do that than through the beautiful stylings of soul and funk music and having a drink and a cocktail,” May said.