Like the Death Star from "Star Wars," Whiskey Business is a product of 1980s nostalgia. And after two years of waiting, all systems are finally go in Wicker Park, with doors opening at 5 p.m. Friday. Chris Johnston has given the neighborhood a rare rooftop bar, meshing it with his neighboring Cheesie's Pub & Grub which opened on New Year's Eve. Originally the concept centered around a French fry bar, but after seeing how nice the interiors began shaping up, Johnston and Co. expanded the scope to be a bit more upscale.
Though covered with snow now, the roof-deck promises to a big summer draw, boasting room for 120 people. Baseball fans have a spot to catch a game and some sun with three flatscreens; there's even some green ivy reminiscent of that North Side baseball stadium. There's also some nostalgia with the roof's floor tiles that are emblazoned with a large "WB," and start humming that Russian-influenced theme from "Tetris" as the floors are based off the popular puzzle video game. The seating is sleek, not the rusty patio furniture folks would find outside their parents' house.
The main floor is a sharp contrast to Cheesie's casual feel, with the latter a carbon copy of the original Wrigleyville location. The floor, seating and the bar at WB are all darker, making Whiskey Business more of a spot for a nightcap compared to its brighter sibling. There's seating for 60 at the bar and TVs hung over the exposed brick. The gallery above features photos from both Whiskey Business and Cheesie's, so check them out, and start counting down to spring when that lovely roof will be useful.
Whiskey Business, 1367 N. Milwaukee Ave., (773) 698-7362, open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday. Winter hours will change in the spring.