By Kevin Collison
For a small town Nebraska native, Jill Cockson has a gift for creating sophisticated city watering holes, her latest being the Chartreuse Saloon at the corner of 17th and Oak in the East Crossroads.
“My inspiration is drawn from the history of the saloon culture,” she said.
“The old saloon culture brought everybody together, brothel gals, storekeepers, and I want to create an environment that’s a little elevated. A place catering to a professional crowd that still enjoys a game room.”
And the Chartreuse, which opened at the beginning of October, packs a lot of games in its space at 1627 Oak. There are pool tables, and a dart board plus table chess and checker games.
Cockson, 45, has been working in the bar world since she was 21. She came to Kansas City to go to college at Rockhurst University and then moved to Lincoln, NE, in 2013.
While in Lincoln, she opened a bar called The Other Room that she said was her turning point in the saloon world.
“It’s still the only James Beard-nominated cocktail program in Nebraska to date,” Cockson said. “After I got that off the ground, I got an offer to replicate it in Kansas City so I cashed out in Lincoln.”
She returned to open Swordfish Tom’s, a popular Crossroads speakeasy at 210 W. 19th Terr. and remains majority owner of the place.
During the Covid pandemic, she opened another place in Old Shawnee called Drastic Measures and remains a minority partner there.
As for Chartreuse, Cockson noticed the building that formally housed Madrigal was vacant and thought it would be a good location because of how the East Crossroads was growing and becoming connected to downtown in general.
She lives in the neighborhood and is a huge fan of The Brick and its owner Sheri Parr.
“I see Sheri as a pioneer,” Cockson said. “I love The Brick. It’s a well-executed, locally-owned neighborhood bar.”
In addition to drinks, the Chartreuse Saloon offers a “build-your-own” nacho menu on the food side. It’s hours are 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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