Consider it Mike Sheerin's version of "Bar Rescue." The Embeya chef and partner in the forthcoming Packed is getting into the bar game, taking over the 10-year-old Lincoln Park Irish watering hole Trinity Bar with longtime buddy Ryan Holden. The pair have been quietly restoring and remodeling the space at 2721 N. Halsted since May and are planning to reveal the fruits of their labor in around two weeks.
For starters, it will remain under the name Trinity Bar. The decade-old neighborhood tavern fell into disarray after new operators took over three years ago, Sheerin and Holden say, and they've been working to bring out the old-school charm and "clean up the place."
It will also remain an Irish bar but with elevated food and drink programs. Sheerin says he'll cook there a couple days a week when it opens, putting together a menu of Irish standbys such as fish and chips and a burger with Irish cheddar. It's outfitted with 12 draft lines that they'll mainly fill with local craft beer. David Disney, who worked with Sheerin at Cicchetti, is whipping up a whiskey-and-classic-focused cocktail menu. Trinity will also have a small wine list (three reds, three whites, one rose).
The 88-seat space holds a main front room with a bar, an elevated back room with a second bar, and a separate-entrance basement with another bar and an unearthed fireplace that Sheerin and Holden are considering making into a speakeasy. There's dark woods and a classic Chicago tin ceiling throughout, and Sheerin and Holden have added five cushy tavern booths, including a large "king's booth" in the elevated second bar room, and lowered many hightop tables to dinner height so customers can easier sit down for a full meal.
They haven't set a definite opening date yet, but expect it to open to the public in around a fortnight. Whether Jon Taffer will show up is anyone's guess.