Soft opening of Shelburne Falls’ new speakeasy-style bar set for Tuesday
|Published: 11-20-2023 10:39 AM
SHELBURNE FALLS — The village is about to have a poorly kept secret.
Gypsy Apple Bistro owner Michaelangelo Wescott will open his new speakeasy-style bar, dubbed Le Peacock, on Tuesday, Nov. 21, adding some nightlife to Bridge Street.
“We are going to be torching drinks, smoking drinks. There is always going to be something fun behind the bar,” said Mariel Olcoz, the new bar manager at Le Peacock.
The basement space at 10 Bridge St., beneath Boswell’s Books, has been the home to many businesses in recent years. Now, Wescott will use the space for his new project. Tuesday marks Le Peacock’s soft opening as the business works out any kinks before a grand opening later on.
Open hours for the bar are from noon to whenever the last person leaves, six days a week. It is closed on Mondays.
The team said the new bar will be a place for the whole community. Setting the scene, they said they envision Le Peacock as simultaneously hosting older patrons drinking cognac, a younger crowd sipping on innovative cocktails and couples on date nights.
Drink prices have a wide range starting at $4. There will be more expensive spirits as well as cheaper drinks (cocktails made from bottom-shelf liquor) in hopes that people might stay for hours even if they are on a budget.
Many of the specialty cocktails on the menu are tributes to local people. This includes a drink called “A Peacock Named Frank,” which is named after recently deceased Shelburne Falls painter Frank Rozelle, who painted the bar’s interior.
Le Peacock will have the capacity to have 12 beers on tap, with many coming from Berkshire Brewing Co., and a specially selected wine list.
“I am trying to go crazy with garnishes,” Olcoz said, likening her cocktail menu to Barry Manilow’s 1985 song “Copacabana” — flamboyant, fun and colorful.
A small-plate menu consists of mussels, house-made paté, a tin fish plates, burgers, pork skewers, deviled eggs, mezze boards and white beans.
The two bartenders are Olcoz and Matthew Boyd. Boyd has experience working in the alcohol industry with Hermit Thrush Brewery and Ginger Libation. Olcoz is a classically trained bartender with a Level 2 certification as a cicerone (someone who is a certified expert in the production, evaluation and service of craft beer). She won numerous bartending awards in Florida where she used to live before moving to Shelburne.
Wescott said nothing will change about the Gypsy Apple Bistro while he works on opening Le Peacock.
“We are just taking over the whole town,” he said.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Wescott worked the counter of a bodega his father owned. He mostly served Latin American food in New York, but grew up with a mother from the West Indies and was inspired by watching Julia Child’s cooking show at a young age.
Early in his career, he started working in the high-end restaurant industry and was star-struck by the beautiful dining rooms he worked in. He then moved to French West Indies in the Caribbean and ran a restaurant where he crafted Mediterranean-style food with the readily available ingredients on the island.
While living in the Caribbean, Wescott connected with chefs who brought him to western Massachusetts, selling Wescott on the region’s burgeoning culinary culture. He worked at a variety of restaurants in the area after moving, most notably Green Street Cafe in Northampton, which operated as a French bistro as well as a community hub. Later, he embarked on opening his own restaurants in Northampton, the most recent venture being the Wine Witch, which closed in 2022.
Arriving in the area 30 years ago, Wescott came to Shelburne Falls and knew it was the community he wanted to be a part of. He accomplished this goal 17 years ago when he opened Gypsy Apple Bistro, the successful French restaurant down the street from his new project.
Now, with Le Peacock, he hopes to expand the village’s nightlife.
“Everything closes early,” Wescott said. “We want to fill that gap.”
Reach Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or firstname.lastname@example.org.