It is a rare day that someone doesn’t ask the status of the former Arlington Hotel at 700 Cotton Street and the timeline for the Every Man A King distillery conversion. Love of the old hotel and support for its rehab into something cool and different is pretty much universal, so when work crews began returning to install windows and an aluminum storefront to the Louisiana Avenue side, there was joy in Shrevestown.

The new historic-look windows are installed and now, the storefront facade is going in.

Dr. Andrew Larson, who along with his wife Dr. Lindsey Pennington own the old Arlington, tell us their vision for Shreveport remains firm, and they are pushing to be in the building in some capacity by the end of 2024.

The former Arlington Hotel in 2019.

Their current plans have a restaurant and speakeasy on the first floor and an event space on the second. “We would likely start with the easiest to execute which would include the speakeasy and restaurant and add on other services, including events and the distillery in the following year(s),” says Larson.

A courtyard and eventual ‘new build’ distillery for the adjacent lot are planned in later phases. The third floor is still up in the air, “with an endless number of things that could occupy that space in the future,” says Larson.

As you might think, the things affecting every construction project across the nation is causing the EMAK slowdown, too, says Larson. “As owner-operators of the property, we are affected by both development conditions and general macroeconomic conditions.  On the development side of things, we are finding construction costs are almost twice as expensive as things were in 2019.  Most of that appears to be in the category of subcontractor labor. Projects are also taking significantly longer to build for similar reasons. There currently are not enough skilled laborers to do all of the work.”

The conceptual drawing of a newly-added distillery building and the courtyard.

The higher costs and lack of labor on the construction side extends to the restaurant side, he says, especially in that “every restaurant has help wanted signs.” He will need to hire a staff of 75 just for the new restaurant and speakeasy alone. “With construction costs expected to return closer to 2019 levels and the beginnings of an increase in the labor pool, I am optimistic that those obstacles will lessen in the next two years,” says Larson.

A new roof, floors, and windows have been added since this photo. All that was really left to work with was the four walls.

While he and his wife would have loved the project to be completed, they have come to accept a situation that has been outside of their control. “We’re a much stronger team than when we started this,” he tells me. “Community members ask almost daily for an update on the downtown project.  They share the vision.  I know everything happens for a reason, and the improved product we’re going to put forward will be reflected in having that stronger team.”

A flashback from the 1970s showing what the famous sign looked like.


Story from Jan. 16, 2020

It never happens fast enough, but work is progressing at downtown’s Every Man a King Distillery at the old Arlington Hotel, 700 Cotton St. They posted new photos this week showing the current look of some of the proposed spaces including the:

#1 The Bottoms Speakeasy Bar
#2 The Revenir French Restaurant
#3 The Cotton Street Club Music Hall and Event Space
#4 Third Floor Balcony Overlooking Cotton St.

Every Man A King is due to open in this calendar year, so stay tuned!

Here’s a look at the spaces: