Photograph by Alexandra Taylor
One step inside Rooster and you know it’s a place you want to hang out for a while. Not just because the tiny shop is packed with vintage home goods that beckon to you with a wink and a nod, but because proprietors Patrick Hennessy and Shane Lamb—who also build custom furniture and rehab houses—have created a hospitable atmosphere, where chatting about the building’s history is as much fun as shopping their collected treasures. “There are tiger maple fireplace surrounds in some of the apartments [upstairs] that have never been messed with,” says Hennessy, who moonlights as the guitarist and singer for The Tigerlilies. “The apartments used to house master brewers visiting from Germany,” he says.
Hennessy and Lamb have rehabbed this former junk shop by repairing and skimming the walls, installing decorative decking (found in a dumpster; they’re inveterate recyclers) and adding painted graphics. They pulled in their friend, Skip Williams, to manage and merchandise the space.
A barware display full of glass decanters of different eras seem to insist I bring them home with me for a long overdue cocktail party. Ditto the tiki mugs. “At one point I amassed a collection of over 70 tiki mugs. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, I just knew I wanted them,” says Hennessy, who has sold quite a few to Japp’s (but you can still scoop some up at the shop). Solid brass accent pieces dot the store, as does a terrific selection of mid-century lighting, metal wall sculpture, and colorful glass and ceramic pieces. And an old chicken coop ladder from Hennessy’s parents’ farm displays handmade quilts made by Williams’s mother.
Hollywood, it seems, is also smitten with Rooster’s friendly charm. Oscar winner (and Carol costume designer) Sandy Powell apparently fell in love with Rooster, as did her husband Alfie. Says Hennesy: “He said to us, lads, I’m not from here. I’m in the Midwest and this is exotic to us.”
Rooster, 923 Vine St., downtown, (513) 238-2587, facebook.com/923rooster