The room was packed this evening for the ribbon cutting at the new Ward Eight cocktail lounge on Howard Street in Evanston.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, joined Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and bar owners Anne Carlson and Cody Modeer for the ceremonial slicing of the ribbon in the bar at 629 Howard.

The project, more than a year in the making, is receiving substantial financial aid from the city as part of an effort to revive the Howard Street commercial strip.

After a few soft opening events, and a party this evening for members of the Howard Street Business Association, the bar is scheduled to formally open for business Wednesday night at 5 p.m.

Carlson says Ward Eight will operate from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Sunday from now on.

Carlson grabs for another glass for the wine tasting, while Modeer holds the couple’s child, who Alderman Rainey described as “our wine-bar baby.”

The owners had originally hoped to open the bar by July, but a variety of delays held up completion of the project until now.

Related stories

Ward Eight opens its doors tonight (Dec. 1, 2012)

Evanston approves two new liquor licenses (May 30, 2012)

Aldermen approve city aid for Howard Street bar (Feb. 28, 2012)

City plans to subsidize new bar on Howard (Feb. 27, 2012)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Kidding

    So glad the City of Evanston found another great way to waste money. A high class wine bar on Howard? Really? Who did the research on this project? A year to open and 6 months to fail. Unless the City sees fit to keep giving them money to stay open. A true joke!

  2. Head-scratching ventures

    As taxpayers in this city we are seeing our hard earned money go to a number of head-scratching ventures lately. This Wine bar on Howard is one of the more puzzling businesses that the city has supported.

    Common sense would tell long time residents that this is the wrong place for a business of that nature. The city has lavished funds, and a sweetheart deal for a place to live. Even appliance Giant Best Buy has chipped in with free furniture for the couple to use.

    I hope for our tax dollars sake that they succeed. A failure could bring about the end of the the mayor's political career.

  3. Main Street Wine Bar

    How come, or did I miss it, there was no ribbon cutting for the wine bar on Main street?  What the heck is this – Evanston gives money to one wine bar and not the other … what about the new one on Main street that isn't open yet … did we give money to them? 

  4. Give them a chance to succeed

    I don't write that often to Evanston Now in response to the comments I read, mostly because those posting the comments are "Anonymous".  It is hard to take someone seriously when they hide behind the skirt of secrecy.  But in the case of Ward Eight, I feel compelled to ask why we can't we give them a chance to succeed?  I have met the owners.  They are nice people who seem driven to make this work.  You must know that from the perspective of city revenue, entertainment and liquor taxes are one of the more profitable ways for the city to collect funds.  The stragety as I understand it (and agree with it), is that one thriving business will lure another and another, etc. 

    So give them a chance.  Go have a drink at their place. 

    If you want to spew venom, join me in continuing to rail against ongoing funding for TIC.  The Technology Inovation Center has had its hand out to the city for over twenty years.  Millions of dollars later they still can't demonstrate on paper how the city has benifited from these donations.  Had it not been for the Mayor stepping in and twisting arms, the council would have denied yet another round of funds to TIC this year.  That is called throwing good money after bad (for over 20 years). 

    Getting someone started in a business where you can actually measure your return on investment is ok by me.


    1. where can I see the rates of return?



      Who on city council is responsible for checking in on this investment and when can the taxpayers see this information?

      How many years/months do these people have to pay back the $? IF they can not pay it back, will city council shut them down as would a bank?







  5. Once the tap is running might as well have a drink

    While I completely disagree with nearly every decision regarding TIFs and business financing that the City makes, once they invest our money in ventures it makes sense to me to support them.

    In the case of Ward Eight I have stopped by for a drink, and it is a lovely venue with terrific beverages.

    I'll definitely make it one of my regular stops, along with other places that have financed their own businesses, mainly due to the fact that I like it, but also to do what I can to protect "my" investment.

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