Ross Janke brought the historic DeLand Hotel back to life, restoring its original ambiance and character of the 1920s. Now he has turned his attention to his next project — opening Hemingway’s 442, a high-end “speak-easy” themed cigar lounge within The DeLand Hotel at 442 E. New York Ave.
With the same focus he gave to restoring the nearly century-old hotel, merging the authenticity of the 1920s era with modern luxury, Janke scoured antique bar dealers throughout the country to procure the unique pieces that would add aesthetics as well as function.
The hotel lounge has now been converted to Hemingway’s 442, the centerpiece of which is its bar. Composed of several pieces, each dating from between 1880 and 1915, the bar exudes the mystique of the Roaring ’20s, but with the comfort of the 2020s.
“To accommodate our cigar aficionados, service extends to the back patio and a reserved section on the front porch,” Shari Simmans, Janke’s partner for business development in Hemingway’s 442, told The Beacon.
Under Janke’s care, The DeLand Hotel achieved the highest ranking for a historic property — placement on the National Register of Historic Places. After achieving that goal, Janke moved on to phase two of his vision for the hotel.
“The lounge was always part of my plan for the hotel,” Janke said in a news release. “Our goal is to provide a unique, high-end experience for our guests, and create an ambiance where they can relax.”
Simmans said in the release that Hemingway’s 442 is focusing on ensuring the bar’s patrons will be able to “enjoy the simple luxury of a good cigar and a great sip.” She is working with cigar distributors and friends in the industry to procure the perfect cigar for every taste.
Beverage Director Robert Mercier was recruited to lead operations for the hotel’s bar. Mercier, known for his expertise in creating and serving unique cocktails coupled with high-end customer service, cultivated the extensive selection at Hemingway’s 442. Top-shelf scotch, bourbon, gin and whiskey decorate the back bar, beckoning customers looking for that perfect libation to accompany a good cigar or just unwind in an Old Florida atmosphere.
The bar menu highlights the speak-easy’s craft cocktails and unique offerings of bourbon and whiskey, including limited editions, as well as wine and beer selections.
Mercier’s focus is on delivering top-notch customer service to accompany his libations.
“Anybody can serve a drink. It is the hospitality behind it that counts,” he said in the news release. “There is a quiet humility in the service of others.”
All service staff have been hired. Mercier “has hand-picked the staff, and we are excited to bring this caliber of service to our region,” Simmans said.
Hemingway’s 442 opened Jan. 13. Regular hours will be opening at 4 p.m. seven days a week, with closing at 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information about the hotel, go to thedelandhotel.com.