BY CALEB ALEXANDER
With almost three years of preparations, plans, stumbling blocks, shifting gears, changing locations and high expectations behind them, the owners of the Wooden Mouth, which can best be described as a social gathering place specializing in craft beers, a nice variety of adult beverage and good eats, are getting closer every day to a spectacular grand opening.
Wooden Mouth is to be located at 423 West Hanover in New Baden, in the space formerly occupied by A Fine Swine which closed its doors, along with another location in Mount Vernon, back in November.
The process has not been an easy one. It has included some opposition from village trustees who expressed concern about such unfounded fears that it would bring underage drinking, fights, nudity and all sorts of other unsavory criminal activity into New Baden.
The village needs the business, however, and the tax income a place like Wooden Mouth will produce, once it is up and running at full speed, is expected to boost the local economy. At least four of the six members of the village board recognized this as a plus for New Baden back in December when voting on a liquor license for the new establishment.
Underscoring the importance of welcoming this new business to the village is the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has caused many to suffer during the past year along with also reducing the tax income from such sources. Perhaps if more businesses were encouraged to operate in New Baden, instead of being discouraged, once things open up after the pandemic subsides, then the village board won’t have to raise local taxes like they did in December.
Still another community benefit being provided by Wooden Mouth is the number of jobs it will create for people in need of work by hiring a large staff of employees.
The foundation for Wooden Mouth to open in New Baden began all the way back in 2018 and involved the renovation of an older building on Hanover
deeper into the central part of town before the decision was made to relocate it to the former Fine Swine site.
Wooden Mouth will be the first bar and grill specializing in fine craft beers in all of Clinton County. On Thursday, December 10, by a vote of four yes and two no, the village board approved establishing a liquor license for Wooden Mouth.
The business plans to serve, along with specialized craft beers, cocktails, wines, bourbons and a nice menu of unique food selections. The congenial members of the team who will be serving customers is made up of males and females, including a set of cute twins, who all bring with them charming personalities and a desire to make everyone feel comfortable while having fun.
Brian Van Flandern, a premier mixologist from New York City, will be coming to New Baden when Wooden Mouth opening time nears so that he can spend three full days here teaching the bartending staff the secrets that have earned him numerous accolades including having won an award for the best cocktail book in the world in 2009.
With everything moving in a forward direction, Wooden Mouth may be opening as soon as mid-March (St. Patrick’s Day anyone?)