Tommie’s Place in West Chester: A super secret treasure hidden in plain view

It’s not such a well-kept secret that I have been using the VIP room at Premier Shooting as my super-secret meeting place for political activity for a number of years. It was great for me; I could shoot at the magnificent range they have at Premier, which is in West Chester near Port Union. Then I could meet with various political figures without worrying about strange people snooping in on our conversation. When I meet people for lunch, this is often the problem, which I still do. But going to Premier, anybody who went into the VIP room would have to badge in, which greatly limited the variables which might come by and provide a security risk. And additionally, it was just a nice, convenient location with a beautiful view of the lake. It had a country club feel to it, but it was still a center of combat training. They taught a lot more than just shooting at Premier. But you could learn a lot regarding lethal and non-lethal combat scenarios. I’ve loved Premier since Tommie and her family built it, and I consider it one of the great treasures of West Chester. So it was my favorite place to do the kind of clandestine work that I do behind the scenes to make cake, political cake, which can sometimes be very tricky business. I tend to get a lot of attention when I get out and about, so minimizing that curiosity was very beneficial until some of the meetings started getting quite large, with ten people at a time and more. So over the last year or two, I have had to move those super-secret meeting locations to other places. I had heard about their plans for the VIP room from the family but hadn’t had a chance until recently to see the construction updates.

Tommie had told me that she was planning a bar at the shooting range, which seemed an exotic idea to me then. I know other luxury ranges around the country were discussing experimenting with the concept because guns and drinking are generally not good partners. But I was certainly interested. Even more so, the tone of the bar was going to be more like a speakeasy from the 1920s, kind of a backroom kind of thing that was secret to the world. Well, that made sense because that is precisely how I had been using the VIP room for quite a while. That was actually the appeal. Shortly after I changed my secret location meeting place, Premier began constructing their new idea, just as the new Harley Davidson dealership went in next door to the shooting facility. It was quite something to admire, that little corner of West Chester right off 747, which has heavy traffic. People could come and shoot, learn martial arts, buy motorcycles, guns, go fishing, hike around the really nice lake, that area really represented the best of government from the trustees in attracting these kinds of investments for the public to enjoy and it was all very beneficial to people who enjoy those kinds of things. But to add a night spot, a speakeasy with a full bar on the upper scale of things. That was certainly interesting. Recently that construction was completed, and they are calling the effort Tommie’s Place, with a speakeasy slant to it and to announce its opening to the public; we had a super-secret meeting there with some very high profile politicians where everyone could talk, sip on a beverage and conduct a conversation with a large group of people that we couldn’t have had if we rented a room at a local restaurant.

As I arrived for this event, Jim caught me in the parking lot and showed me where the parking for the speakeasy was; it was behind the building near the Harley dealership. From there, you could get into the place through a special back door they had just built where you could badge in from there. Or, you could go through the front, cross the lobby of Premier itself, and they had just built a special entrance to the speakeasy where the old VIP door used to be. I went into the back entrance and immediately noticed they had added a lot to the back of the building. And in going in, there was a small hallway with a desk where they checked to ensure you didn’t bring firearms into the bar area. I could see how they had rearranged the VIP area to incorporate this new feature. They still had a badge access VIP area where people could get away and relax with the same country club feel. But this time, it was all in glass so the public could see what was happening. And the speakeasy itself was built where the outside porch used to be, but now it was all enclosed into a very exotic bar that likely no speakeasy in America was so luxurious. But it had a fantastic view of the lake and felt like it was a million miles from everywhere. Yet 747 was still only a few feet away. You’d never know it. It reminded me a lot of the lounge area of Jags and certainly had a touch of class to it. 

We had a great meeting, good people all wanting to do good things. The drinks were great. The atmosphere was just fantastic. And this place is open to the public. I can’t think of a better place to catch an after-work drink or even a during-the-day stopover with friends and partners. It was very private but could accommodate a crowd. You could make it part of your shooting experience, or you could just stop by, park in the back, walk from your car to the speakeasy without many complications, and step away from the noise of life for a bit. It was very clever how they set it all up. The lake and the parking in the back are the fundamental tricks to removing you from the pressures of the outside world, then entering through a back door that takes you into the warm embrace of elegant surroundings where you could be social, or not, as you’d like to be. If you just wanted to get away and have a quiet drink, this was the place to do it. It all told a good story of remembering a period of American history where the law was too much, and people wanted to get away from the far-reach of the law with a speakeasy. Yet this was a safe place from the world’s concerns and was designed to keep the ugliness of a bad day from contaminating a good evening. It had all the elements I enjoyed from all those super-secret political meetings, but now it had the added elegance of the best West Chester had to offer, all in one place. And I was very impressed with the new addition to the Premier Shooting facility offerings. It was classy, convenient, and practical and a real treasure to those who have come to know about it. 

 Tommie’s Place – A Prohibition Era Cocktail Lounge (

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

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