By AUSTIN MONTGOMERY
For Stateline Business Journal
BELOIT — Two men went into a Stateline Area bar and walked out as business partners.
The duo is planning to open Inked Sports Bar on Grand Avenue in Beloit.
Justin Christophersen, a business-savvy former office worker, and Mike Perleberg, a seasoned 23-year veteran of the bar and restaurant business, partnered to open the bar at 443 E. Grand Ave. in downtown Beloit after Perleberg brought up the idea to Christophersen.
The pair signed the lease on the property in early February, and have assembled a 12-member staff ahead of the planned April opening.
Both Christophersen and Perleberg said they wanted to join forces to create a legacy bar that could be built up and then passed down to younger generations in each of their families. For Christophersen, the move was long over-due after feeling out of place in the corporate business world. Perleberg said the location of the property and the timing led him to hatch the idea.
“I really wanted the independence of operating something that was in part my own,” he said.
The staff will bring a three-person chef’s crew, led by Paul Allen, a national award-winning chef, along with two experienced bartenders and a seasoned lead wait staff director.
The 120-seat sports bar will feature 16 flat-screen TV sets, a 150-inch projector for featured games, over 50 types of spirits and multiple brew selections on tap. The business will partner with Bottom’s Up to offer discounted drinks through the company’s unique tap-filling system.
Bottom’s Up uses a magnet to seal the bottom of each glass, while being filled from the bottom. Each holder includes various business logos and discounts for future offers. The system is not currently used in any bar in Wisconsin or northern Illinois, Perleberg said.
Fare at the bar will range from sandwiches and burgers to wings and basic bar appetizers. The co-owners said the menu would focus on large portions that are priced affordably. About a month after opening, Perleberg said the bar will offer a breakfast buffet menu from Thursday to Sunday.
Perleberg also said the bar will offer giveaways during featured games throughout the professional baseball, hockey, basketball and football seasons, while also hosting live music events with country and light rock bands. The bar will be furnished with custom work from South Beloit tattoo artist Marcus Dunlap, owner of Dr. Dunlap’s Ink Therapy #2. All of the art in the bar will be Beloit-themed, Christophersen said.
“We wanted to stick with the tattoo theme, while also keeping it local,” Christophersen said.
After the bar nets its liquor license from the city, the bar will make a major marketing push on the radio, TV and over social media to get the word out.
Previous ventures at the corner location had failed for various reasons. Both Christophersen and Perleberg said they want to take a pro-active approach to raising the bar’s profile, while providing down-to-earth customer service.
“We want people to feel like our bar is an extension of their living room at home,” Perleberg said. “This is going to be a welcoming spot for all, regardless of who you are.”