Wink Hartman thinks Wichita is ripe for another private supper club. “They were a big deal back in the day,” the high-profile businessman said of private clubs. “I really think things do come back around.”
Private clubs flourished before liquor was legally available by the drink in Kansas. Members paid a fee for the right to buy “set-ups” or mixers and furnished the alcohol by other means.
Private clubs like Lancer’s and the Wichita Club also offered dining and entertainment. But except for the Candle Club, still going strong at the corner of 13th and Woodlawn, the genre died out with the arrival of so many more dining and drinking options.
The private club route offers a bit more exclusivity than a restaurant. Memberships to Lakeside are $20 a month, pay-as-you-go with no yearly commitment required.
Wink Hartman’s latest venture is private, but he’d like nothing better than for you to join.
“I like to refer to it as a country club without golf, swimming or tennis,” said Hartman, the owner of Hartman Oil Co., Hartman Arena and other enterprises.
The club’s food is being created by chef Jeremy Wade, who made his name at Uptown Bistro in Old Town Square. Wade has come up with a bar menu that includes mini beef cheek tostadas, bacon caramel popcorn, beer-cheddar fondue with pretzel crisps and housemade potato chips.
“Just some fun snacky stuff — our own take on bar food,” he said. The regular menu will range from sandwiches and salads to entrees like a double-boned, brined pork chop with mustard spaetzle and apple raisin chutney. There will be a chef’s special each night: jumbo fried shrimp on Monday, spicy fried chicken on Wednesday, prime rib on Friday and so on.
“And of course, I’ll always be here if someone wants something special like a vegetarian dish or gluten-free dish,” Wade said. Entertainment will be headed by another familiar name: Matt Johnston, a singer and keyboardist who’s performed at the Candle Club, Club Diamond and Misfits in the past.
“He does a very eclectic thing,” Hartman said. “The guy’s amazing. If you close your eyes, he can sound just like Patsy Cline — or Frank Sinatra. He’ll play whatever you like.” Johnston confirmed with a laugh that his two most requested songs are by Cline and Barbara Streisand.
“Basically, I do music all the way from the ‘30s to what’s on the radio now,” he said.
2121 N. Webb Road To apply for a membership, visit clublakeside.com. State law requires a 10-day waiting period after application.
Hartman said the interior has been completely re-done. There’s seating for about 260 people, including a “media room” with big- screen TVs, plus another 50 to 60 seats on a new, covered patio.
Hartman thinks the club will appeal most to busy young professionals. “The people in their thirties or forties, the husband and wife both work. They don’t want to use their money to join a country club, or they can’t afford it, or they don’t have time if they can. They can stop by after work for a glass of wine and some casual food. Or they can come in Friday or Saturday night for date night, when the grandparents take care of the kids.” About 200 people have signed up so far.
One thing Hartman isn’t worried about is taking business away from the nearby Chester’s Chophouse, which he owns along with chef Bobby Lane and which sits at the top of many people’s list of best restaurants in Wichita.
“They’ve got a real niche down there,” Hartman said. “We’ll create our own crowd, just like Bobby has.”