This story was last updated on Wednesday, July 8, at 7:30 a.m.
Before it was an Iron Tribe Fitness, the gray-painted brick building at 215 E. Worthington Ave. in Dilworth was an auto body shop that Michael Jordan’s father, James, owned.
A trained mechanic, James Jordan operated Jordan Auto Parts in the late-1980s. At the time, he and his wife Deloris lived in Union County to distance themselves from the publicity that inevitably came with being parents of an NBA superstar.
Now, James Jordan’s old 3,400-square-foot building will get new life as an upscale whiskey bar and cigar lounge called The Vintage. These days, the building is in the midst of a renovation, and it’s track to open at the end of August.
Behind the project is the Menagerie Hospitality Group, headed by local tech entrepreneur Dan Weiss. The group bought the Iron Tribe property in October for nearly $1.2 million, property records show. Weiss’s group also owns and recently renovated the Wine Loft in South End.
The aim is to make The Vintage into a gathering spot where you can relax, unplug, and unwind. There’s something about a cigar, Weiss says, that forces you to slow down a little.
The building has “great bones,” Weiss says, adding that his team is trying to preserve as much of it as possible.
As some kind of homage to the city, the exterior brick wall will likely get a mural.
“It’s nice to see something being preserved. That’s what we’re trying to do with this,” says Weiss, a Charlotte native.
Weiss says his team is working to get as much work as possible these days, even as bars and clubs required to remain closed during the current phase of North Carolina’s reopening plan.
“I’m continuing to invest especially while the hospitality industry is on its heels,” Weiss says. “It will come back but we have to do business differently to do our part to keep people safe.”
One major addition to the space will be a new ventilation system, crucial in ensuring customers’ comfort, Weiss explains. The Vintage also will get a walk-in humidor with over 1,000 cigars to choose from. It’ll have a full bar with hand-picked whiskies and other spirits. For the daytime crowd, The Vintage will have a craft espresso menu with locally sourced coffees.
The Vintage will be a private members-only club since it won’t serve food. It’ll be styled as an upscale, Prohibition-era lounge with plenty of plush sofas and big wooden common tables.
Given its location and vibe, the lounge will fill a void in the area, Weiss says.
“We don’t have a lot of choices in Charlotte if you want to have a cigar in an upscale location,” he says.
Overcash Demmitt Architects is overseeing the renovation. The interior design group Designbar is overseeing the decor and furniture.
Taking over as general manager of The Vintage is Giannis Koutsoupais, former cigar distributor and former GM of the Jailhouse in Belmont.
Iron Tribe, a gym specializing in intense group fitness, operated for six years in Dilworth. The gym has moved into a new space nearby at 3021 Bank Street, near Lenny Boy. Its new building is much larger, and Iron Tribe will take up about 4,400 square feet of space, owner JD Brooks says. They’ll rent out the remaining room in the building as co-working space, he adds. It includes 10 offices, a conference room, and a break room.