Alex Gara, Manager and Beverage Director at Hot Chocolate, is taking on an interesting project with an impressive list of local restaurant folk as backers. Under construction now at the corner of Damen and Crystal in Wicker Park is a community bocce court, a place for people in the city to play, party, host events, and beautify a neglected and unused city lot. Construction is scheduled to finish in mid-to-late May.
"I'm so excited about this," Gara says. "I haven't had a second to digest everything but I know that once it's done, it's going to be a hell of an accomplishment."
In addition for a place to play bocce, the Italian game of lawn bowling, for free, look for a host of events that feature a ton of restaurant industry pull. The first will be a tournament pitting local restaurants on May 19. Contributors and donators include Takito Kitchen, The Bristol, Paramount Room, Gibson's, Three Aces, SmallBar, Three Floyd's, Journeyman Distillery, Peroni, and many more. The space will have two courts and seating, equipment will be available for rental at Smallbar.
Volunteer construction dates on May 5, 6, 12, and 13 will lead up to the opening. There's a fundraiser ($15 donation) on May 16 at Fulton Market Gallery with craft cocktails by Alex Gara (Hot Chocolate) and Justin Arnett Graham (L20), snacks by Mindy Segal and Justin White (SmallBar), a live band and DJ, and a raffle.
They're hoping to open several locations of the courts throughout the city after the first is finished next month.
· Wicker Park Bocce Club [Facebook]