Kevin Lowe a long-time bartender at Doc Ryan's, Mike Barz and Craig Veselik - Igor Studenkov/Staff Reporter

Doc Ryan’s bar, 7432 Madison St., is in the process of being sold to two friends of current owner Matt Sullivan, but the process is contingent on the successful transfer of the liquor license and some other procedural issues.

Brothers Matt and Brian Sullivan bought the bar from long-time owner Jim Shaw, who retired in the fall of 2007. Rumors that the bar changed hands started circulating this spring. Matt Sullivan’s name appeared on Doc Ryan’s April 29 entertainment license application. 

But in a recent interview, Craig Veselik and Mike Barz said they are “in the process of taking [Doc Ryan’s] over” – a process that, Veselik said, began in March. He said that they are waiting for the transfer of the liquor license to go through, as well as some other issues. Both co-owners in waiting said that they were looking to move the menu beyond classic bar food, as well as to introduce a larger cocktail menu – but, assuming the remaining legal processes are complete, they don’t expect customers to see any changes until next spring. 

Originally opened in the 1950s, Doc Ryan’s is one of Forest Park’s larger bars. Former mayor Anthony Calderone hosted several election night victory parties at Doc Ryan’s throughout the 2000s. While police have occasionally gotten calls about customer misbehavior over the years, during the July 26 hearing on the status of the Tap Room bar’s liquor license, Police Chief Ken Gross testified that Doc Ryan’s doesn’t have significant issues. 

Matt Sullivan didn’t respond to the Review’s request for comment by deadline. Veselik said he’s friends with Sullivan, which is how they got a shot at purchasing the bar. He and Barz did not elaborate on the terms of the deal.

When asked about their experience in the bar or restaurant industry, Barz said they have hospitality industry experience, but neither he nor Veselik elaborated any further. 

Veselik said the expanded menu would be “traditional American-style food,” but they are “hoping to make it more elevated” compared to typical bar fare. They also plan to offer a similarly elevated cocktail menu. Barz declined to elaborate on what the menu would look like, saying that their mixologist previously worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and they didn’t want to share their identity on record without their permission. 

“We’re looking forward to bringing new energy to [Doc Ryan’s], to Madison Street,” Barz said.