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Five best bets for bar and brewpub openings


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Jim Meehan - DORON GILD
  • Doron Gild
  • Jim Meehan

Prairie School
Late September

A collaboration between Heisler Hospitality and Jim Meehan, founder of New York's PDT bar, Prairie School is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright—both the design of the physical space and the drinks will reflect the architect's aesthetic. The bar, which occupies the northeast corner of the Google building in the West Loop, will serve minimalist cocktails from Meehan and head bartender Kristina Magro (Pub Royale, Queen Mary) and has a Japanese tap system designed specifically to dispense whiskey highballs. The space itself, according to a press release, "combines Prairie School, Bauhaus and classic Japanese tea house influences."

326 N. Morgan

Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin - IRENE SUGIURA
  • Irene Sugiura
  • Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin

Jolly Pumpkin
Early October

Jolly Pumpkin has been steadily expanding throughout Michigan for the past several years, with brewpubs in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, and Royal Oak in addition to its original taproom in Dexter. Its first foray outside the state opens in Hyde Park this fall, where the brewpub will serve staples from its other locations, like the Perfect Fried Chicken Sandwich and truffle fries, along with menu items specific to Chicago. And while Jolly Pumpkin brews only sour beer, its parent company (Northern United Brewing) owns several other brands that produce wine, spirits, hard cider, and nonsour beer—all of which will be available at the brewpub.

1504 E. Harper Ct.,

  • Daniel Blackman

Early October

Off Color's new 8,000-square foot brewery and taproom will offer not only 16 traditional beer taps but also one cask line, one sake tap, and one tap for coffee or batch cocktails, according to founder John Laffler. Because the space has a full tavern license it's not limited to serving beer produced onsite, and Laffler says that it'll have beer from other breweries and a full cocktail list. The sake, however, will be Off Color's own—it's a recipe the brewery's currently working on. And the space is designed for experimentation: in the future it's where "all the wild fermentation, R&D projects, and bizarre stuff" will be done, Laffler says.

1460 N. Kingsbury

Graham Elliot and Matthias Merges of Gideon Sweet - MIKE RIVERA
  • Mike Rivera
  • Graham Elliot and Matthias Merges of Gideon Sweet

Gideon Sweet

Some of the biggest names in Chicago dining are coming together to launch this bar and restaurant in the former Graham Elliot Bistro space: not only Matthias Merges and Alex Bachman, longtime partners in Folkart spots including Billy Sunday, Yusho, A10, and Old Irving Brewery, but also Graham Elliot himself. Chef Michael Shrader is leaving Old Irving to run the kitchen, and Bachman is developing the drink menu, which will include vintage cocktails and spirits (Bachman also owns a company called Sole Agent that specializes in sourcing rare and vintage spirits).

841 W. Randolph

Danny Shapiro of Moonlighter - NICK MURWAY
  • Nick Murway
  • Danny Shapiro of Moonlighter

The Moonlighter

A lot has changed on the Logan Square cocktail scene since Danny Shapiro, Andy Gould, and Kristofer Nagy opened Scofflaw at the corner of Armitage and Kedzie. Now, five years later and with a couple more bars under their belts (Slippery Slope, Heavy Feather), the same trio is returning to that original corner: the Moonlighter will be a casual neighborhood bar directly across the street from Scofflaw. Along with bar fare like burgers and wings from chef Mickey Neely, it will feature 20 beer taps, cocktails from Shapiro, and a 2,000-square-foot patio with built-in fireplaces.

3204 W. Armitage  v

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