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University of Michigan

Throwback cocktail lounge fills long-empty spot

Throwback cocktail lounge fills long-empty spot

For the past two years, the space on Elm Place that used to be The Tasting Room has sat empty. But Highland Park just acquired a new hot spot in the old wine bar's location: The Panda Bar. The throwback cocktail lounge opened three weeks ago, offering upscale American cuisine with an Asian flair. "I saw this opportunity as something the city was lacking," said owner Brian Batt, a former options trader who also owns Green Panda, the Chinese restaurant next door to The Panda Bar, 596 Elm Place. "There's nothing like it in Highland Park. It's a comfortable, cozy, neighborhood place, but with a slightly upscale, city vibe to it." After undergoing a major...