The Mechanical Room, modeled after a Prohibition-era speakeasy, has opened in Beatrice.
Todd and Soni Hydo, owners of the business and the Mercantile Building at Third and Court streets where the business is located, said they got the idea when they were traveling.
“We have a favorite alchemy bar which serves high-end cocktails,” Soni Hydo said.
“I enjoy a good beer, but I’m really a cocktail guy,” Todd Hydo added.
The Hydos purchased the Mercantile Building in 2016 and knew they wanted to open businesses in phases.
“When we were working on restoring the building, I would always come to this corner. And then one day Todd said something about going to the mechanical room, and we decided that was the name,” Soni Hydo said.
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“In a true speakeasy, they were secret and hidden in corners because they were illegal. We’ve kept the red light, green light and the password," Todd Hydo said. “We wanted to kind of one-up other businesses like this that we’ve seen. Hopefully we’ve set the tone that you’re going to have a good time here. We won’t have any televisions, but we’ve broken the rules a bit with music."
Occupancy of the Mechanical Room is 35 people. The bar will be open on Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to midnight.
“We juice our own lemons, limes and there are no fake ingredients here,” said Laura Raber, general manager. “I’ve learned so much about the science behind the cocktails.”
“There’s a pretty steep learning curve for the bartenders. Also, a whole science to making different kinds of ice,” Todd Hydo said.
He said another Mercantile Building business is in the works. “We have another business that is opening on this level, Blush, and one more space we want to fill on the main level. Then we will start developing the upstairs.
“We have an interesting town with a national monument, with a beautiful river, a historic downtown and a college. We really wanted to take some initiative and start building on those things together. The downtown buildings are falling into disrepair, but we wanted to do something to promote our community and make it a destination."