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Look Inside Wicker Park's Bangers & Lace, Set to Open Soon

The industrial-looking B&L sign
The industrial-looking B&L sign

Bangers & Lace, the latest bar concept from Matt Eisler (Bar DeVille, Empire Liquors), Kevin Heisner (designer of Violet Hour, Nightwood and others) and Nick Podesta and Jason Freiman (both Duchamp), has passed city inspections and is nearing an opening date, likely within two weeks.

The English- and Belgian-inspired name (bangers are sausages in England; lace is what Belgians call the foam that sticks to the inside of a beer glass) inspired various elements throughout, including the French lace macrame curtains hanging in the windows; the nearly 100 bottle and tap beer list; and, of course, the menu created by Adam Wendt, formerly of Duchamp.

But the overall decor is more Northwoods than Notting Hill. The team utilized cedar siding usually reserved for a building's exterior and placed it on select walls in the bar. Heisner built a 20-foot mahogany communal table for the front room, accented by Shaker-style "salt" chairs from Design Within Reach. A 30-foot zinc bar top was installed by metal workers and intricately designed wood/leather looking inlaid panels grace the bar's lower exterior walls. The back room re-creates a comfortable living room with leather couches, wooden tables and a wood-burning stove in the corner.

The bathrooms bring the outside in, with its forest scene murals, and the plan is to add a '70s-inspired kitschy scenic landscape mural above the moulding toward the top of the walls. The outdoor theme continues with a deer head mounted to the front wall and various taxidermied animals resting atop a vintage ice box, nicknamed the "six pack," that will be used to store six kegs of rotating featured theme beers (the opening kegs will focus on barrel-themed beers like New Holland's Dragon's Milk, Allagash Curieux and Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout). The taps will feed directly to the middle six taps behind the bar, set directly into the exposed brick; those will be flanked by a total of 26 other taps featuring various international beers, which will be the real draw, along with Wendt's menu.

The menu is somewhat European inspired, but the plates are intended to reflect a more pub-like vibe than full-blown restaurant. The menu is broken down into five categories (with some examples):

· Snacks: ham-roasted peanuts; house fries with taleggio dip; onion rings with A1 aioli; crispy corn nuts with smoke chile mayo; and Hannah pretzel with stout mustard
· Plates: fried pickles, honey and country ham; Louisiana hot links wrapped in pastry with shark brand hot sauce and sour cream; Banger breakfast slider with classic egg, creamy spinach, and hollandaise on mini english muffins.
· Dogs: Chicago-style dog or veggie dog with traditional fixings
· Sausages: Sheboygan veal brat, melted gouda, sauerkraut, black currants and beer mustard; Smoked chicken sausage, crushed chips, pimenton, sweet relish and deviled egg; and lamb merguez, crispy fried chickpeas, almonds and green harissa on olive oil flatbread.
· Sweet: seasonal hand pies; gelato; and root beer floats

Bangers & Lace will seat approximately 60 people, including the 20 bar stools, and will add both front and side patio seating next year.