Owners, Sam and Dana Hobbs
Told by Dana.....
In 2015 I was offered a job I couldn’t refuse. I became the Manager of Bills. After working sitting at a desk for 35 years it was a welcomed change. Throughout the 8 years I have managed Bills, I have met and become great friends with our customers. I love the fact that my job is greeting people, serving them wine, and telling them about our wonderful town. I grew up in Prosser and graduated from high school. It’s my home! I moved to the west side for about sixteen years, where I met my husband, Sam. I inherited my grandparents’ farm, so we moved back in 2003.
In April, Bill Jenkin and I sat down and discussed the future of the “tasting room”. It made me sick that Bills might be closed. Bill and his wife wanted to move to a smaller place. Therefore, Bill was not going to have the availability of a production site to make wine. We agreed on the legalities, and I became the new owner.
I decided to keep the name “Bills” but added “Speakeasy” and added Hard Liquor to our menu. (The picture of my Grandparents and their siblings during Prohibition was my inspiration).
People asked “why keep the name Bills? You should name it Dana’s.” “Bills" sign is magnificent and part of the downtown charm. “Danas” just wouldn’t look as good as “Bills”, is what I tell people.
It’s been a learning experience, to say the least, to obtain a liquor license for Spirits in this State. There isn’t a template or list to follow. I am still puzzled at the different laws and policies there are for the different licenses. I filed for my business license, then waited for the emails to come in on what to do next. The State really needs to have a “to-do” list for people to refer to when applying for a license. It takes approximately 4 months for the process to obtain a liquor license. Along with the liquor license, I also received my tobacco license to sell cigars.
Sam and I have done some remodeling at Bills Speakeasy. Everyone that has visited is “WOWED” by the changes. We kept the “Rat Pack” theme in the main room. People love the nostalgia of the photos and the ambience. Sam built the cocktail and water bar, which includes galvanized steel roofing from my grandparent’s milk barn. He also built the prep tables. We found the bench-seating on Marketplace for a very reasonable price. We moved the white couch that used to be in the main room to the “Rabbit Hole”; a mind-bending, intimate space to enjoy with friends or some time by yourself. That space used to be the game room with the shuffleboard. We have outdoor patio seating where you can enjoy a drink, smoke a cigar and watch the world go by. The patio is heated during the fall, winter, and cold evenings.
We offer classic cocktails, martinis, beer, and Bill Jenkin’s Award Winning Wines. Although I offer food, I want Bills Speakeasy to be a gathering place where friends meet up for a cocktail before (or after) they dine at at one of our fine restaurants in Prosser.
I would say my biggest hurdle is getting people to realize that we are not just a tasting room serving wine and beer. Everyone that has visited has been super supportive and has returned.
I welcome people to come check it out. We are a sanctuary for adults - 21+ only. We are open Wednesday-Saturday, 2-8pm.