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Meet Julianne Ishler and Katie Conway of Lake Shore Dive

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julianne Ishler and Katie Conway.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We came up with our idea last September while traveling in Amsterdam. We hadn’t seen each other for a few months and were catching up about our lives in a bar, and talked about what our own bar would look like. We’ve known each other since we were 12 and Chicago has always been a huge part of our lives, so we wanted our bar to be a celebration of Chicago’s creative scene, from the art to the music to the decor. That next morning and the rest of our trip, we drew out what our pop-up would look like and came up with a rough business plan. We submitted our idea to Red Eye’s Big Idea Awards and were chosen as finalists in their 2017 competition.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Since pop-up bars are still a new concept and there aren’t many businesses exclusively operating as one, it’s been a little tricky trying to navigate liquor licenses and the physical steps of how to go about operating one.

We get around these challenges by just continuing to stay true to our mission of empowering the Chicago music and art scene and putting that first and foremost. We’ve been able to pop-up in bars and galleries around the city, and we’ll continue to do this as we build our brand and presence in the Chicago community.

Please tell us about Lake Shore Dive.
We are a pop-up bar highlighting the local creative scene, so all of our events revolve around that concept. We connect the Chicago community through local art, music and our signature hip-hop themed cocktails (Sunday Candy, Gold Digger, to name a few).

Our bar is for Chicago, by Chicago, a celebration of the community. We specialize in planning events in bars and other unique spaces but always use the local aspect to draw a crowd. We believe the community benefits from supporting one another and art and music especially have the power to uplift and spread a positive message.

We are most proud of recognizing talent in the Chicago scene regardless of Clout or followers. We believe in giving everyone a platform to display their work and building a strong community within our pop-ups.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
We probably would have just stretched the timeline out a little more. Our concept was just a month old when we got into the Big Idea Awards, so we were forced to think about everything very quickly and not in a whole lot of time. There were still details we really wanted to flesh out, but because of the timeframe, we had to think big first. This was also a blessing at the same time because it forced us to be real about it very quickly and we’ve been on a good roll ever since.

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Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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