Kathy Peotter has never quite seen eye-to-eye with the notion of the status quo.
She is an entrepreneur whose business experience includes stints within the hospitality, marketing, real estate and service industries, among others. Over the past two-plus decades, the Darboy, Wisconsin, native has always striven—regardless of venture—to go above and beyond the expectations of each customer to create, ultimately, a powerful and lasting experience.
For the residents of the Fox Valley unfamiliar with Peotter’s unique ways, a trip to her latest undertaking, “The Chandelier Club” in Appleton, is a reminder that “business as usual” in Peotter’s eyes can be something like the construction of a daily themed event.
“It’s all about creating an event,” said Peotter, who opened The Chandelier Club, located at N162 Eisenhower Drive (previously occupied by the St. James Cocktail Lounge until August 2013), on October 7. “People like to come to something that they think is an event instead of just opening a door and saying, ‘Let’s go in and have a cocktail.’ We truly entertain them.”
Indeed, for each of the six days (Monday-Saturday) the doors of The Chandelier Club are open, patrons will be exposed to themes and happenings whose inspiration ranges from the days of fictitious millionaire Jay Gatsby to one of the area’s newest Japanese cuisine establishments.
“In this industry,” said Peotter, 48, “you have to change what you do or people will get bored with where they are at.”
She has added velvet and leather couches, five chandeliers and has also implemented a custom drink menu including a “Drink and be Skinny Menu,” featuring a line of skinny cocktails comprised of fresh fruit, carbonated sparkling flavored waters and diet tonics. The Chandelier Club has served catered food, including soups, mini pizzas, smoked salmon cakes and potato-and-carrot pancakes since the company’s inception in September.
While Peotter employs one full time manager and seven part-time bartenders, come Monday, she and a few of her girlfriends tend bar to start each week, a night which has been dubbed “Menopause Monday.” For $12 you can get a glass of wine and a 10-minute chair massage. On Tuesdays, Peotter notes, from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM customers can order one glass of wine and two orders of sushi delivered from Island Sushi Buffet next door, all for $12.
Come Wednesday, The Chandelier Club travels back in time in homage to the days of Roaring 20s. In addition to bartenders donning flapper dresses, a custom drink menu is rolled out for the evening, featuring the Bees Knees (Bombay gin, lemon juice and honey), Daisy Buchanan (Absolut vodka, lemon juice, champagne and lemon twist) and Scofflaw (rye whiskey, dry Vermouth, lemon juice and cherry juice.
On Friday and Saturday nights The Chandelier Club features live music that has included the likes of Tommy Winch, Blues Talk, Bobby Evans, Max Jones, Rob Anthony, Steve Arnold, Sara Zacek, Whiskey Sour, Jon Lambert, Marcuss Meadows, Kyle Megna, Happy Hour Heros, TJ and Lynn and Lucas Cates in just the first few months.
They also host wine tasting events the last Monday of each month and will be adding a beer tasting with Stone Arch Brewery in January. Tequila tasting and bourbon tasting are being scheduled next! “Our goal is to educate along with entertain,” said Peotter; the Club is equipped to make any drink that a guest describes––within reason of course.
Also available is the long-lost offering of complimentary catered appetizers five nights a week from High Cliff Restaurants in Sherwood.
“We are not only a martini bar—we are a cocktail lounge,” said Peotter, who had previously owned “Wet,” a nightclub in downtown Appleton, from 2005-08. In other spheres, she has served as co-owner of Bouwer Printing & Mailing in Appleton since 1999 and Speedy Clean Drain and Sewer since the mid 1990’s along with her husband Bill Peotter. “We don’t want people to come in and feel that they have to order a martini––we offer a nice selection of beer, wine and cocktails.”
Regardless of what one’s drink of choice may be, Peotter notes that she has been nothing short of amazed at the positive reception The Chandelier Club has received since officially becoming a part of the Fox Valley’s business fabric.
“What is happening now has exceeded my expectations of what was going to happen here,” said Peotter, adding that a crowd of 125 supporters were on hand at the company’s ribbon cutting and then again the next week for the grand opening. “You cannot assume that just because you are open people will come in. That is not how it works, and we are very cognizant of that.”
Peotter, whose background is rooted in marketing anything from a local plumbing company to a safari hunting company in Namibia, Africa, has been very active in promoting The Chandelier Club via Facebook posts, mass mailings and appearances at networking events throughout the area. This interpersonal approach, notes Peotter, is how The Chandelier Club has distinguished itself among its competition.
“I love working with and meeting people,” said Peotter, whose vision for The Chandelier Club was originally hatched three years prior upon first stepping foot inside the St. James Cocktail Lounge. “Many of the people which we have made connections with and given time to within the community have come in and supported us, which has been both rewarding and gratifying.”
Life has moved at a frenetic pace for Peotter since breaking ground on The Chandelier Club. From opening the company’s doors five weeks after signing the lease to exceeding her two-month revenue goal by 25 percent, Peotter’s newest business venture is the one in which she has had, arguably, the most fun.
“I wanted this as a business,” said Peotter. “I have seen how some bars are not run like a business, and that can lead to trouble. I run this like a business, because it is a business, and feel that with what we have to offer now and down the road, customers can expect something different and unique each time they stop in.”