In 2006, Carson City Saloon opened in the heart of the South Side at 1401 East Carson Street in the stately former German Savings Deposit Bank building, and it quickly became a favorite for the college and sports crowds looking for affordable drinks in a party atmosphere.

Today, looking to reach customers who have graduated from the college bar scene, the owners behind Carson City Saloon have begun construction on a sister restaurant venture, Couglin’s Law, in a former gas station at 10 Virginia Ave. in Mt. Washington, one block from the bustling Shiloh Street business district.

“It won’t be dollar beers and jello shots,” says Tracy Molyneaux, manager of Carson City Saloon Saloon and part-owner of the new venture. “A lot of our regulars were in college when they first started coming here, and so many of them have moved from the South Side to Mt. Washington.”

Future site of Couglin’s Law. Photo by Tracy Molyneaux.
Future site of Couglin’s Law. Photo by Tracy Molyneaux.

The venture is the brainchild of the Vetere family, owners of Carson City Saloon.

The restaurant’s name is a nod to the 1988 rom-com Cocktail, which starred Tom Cruise as a flashy bartender putting himself through business school. In it, a mentor teaches Cruise the tricks of the trade in a series of lessons known as “Coughlin’s Law.” (The bar’s alternate spelling is intentional.)

Despite its location off of Grandview Avenue, the building will boast impressive views; ownership is installing an elevated back patio from which much of the city skyline will be visible.

The view from Couglin’s Law. Tracy Molyneaux photo.
The view from Couglin’s Law. Tracy Molyneaux photo.

A vegetable garden on the roof will provide the restaurant with vegetables and herbs to include in a limited, seasonal menu. “You can’t offer 70 things and keep it fresh and seasonal,” says Molyneaux.

Craft beer fans, on the other hand, will be able to choose from an abundance of offerings with some 60 beers on tap as well as a craft cocktail menu. Instead of dollar draft nights, guests can look forward to tap takeovers from local craft breweries.

The restaurant will join several other gastropub-style eateries just a few blocks away, including Shiloh Grill and The Summit.

“Couglin’s Law is a welcome addition to Mount Washington’s Commercial District,” says Laura Guralnick, director of economic development at the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation. “This location in particular is a natural expansion of the success of our Shiloh Street Business District, and should attract a nice mix of locals and tourists coming off of the Monongahela Incline.”

Ownership hopes to begin soft openings in June and be open to the public full-time by the Fourth of July.

Molyneaux says that the spirit and liveliness of the Saloon will continue on in the new location, albeit for a slightly older demographic that might be more into an early Sunday brunch than late-night rounds of Fireball.

That being said, one of the brunch offerings will be a Fireball french toast. Some habits die hard.

Brian Conway

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.