After opening their third Chicago bar six months ago, the Emporium Arcade Bar guys are bailing on Surf — to change it into a unique concept. Owner Danny Marks says they’re closing the surfer-inspired bar and eatery at 2367 N. Milwaukee in Logan Square and reconcepting it into a rotating popup space. The first will be Branca Bar, with decor and cocktails in partnership with and inspired by the iconic booze brand’s Milan, Italy tasting room, opening on Feb. 1.
“Basically we just had a lot of ideas for cool different ways we could use the space that seemed more fun than what we were doing at Surf,” Marks says. “It just seemed like a cool opportunity to build on our Emporium world instead of trying to do Surf forever.”
Branca Bar will last for “a couple months.” Beyond that, future popup concepts are currently TBD, but Marks has many ideas and people to draw on that he currently works with at the Emporiums, such as live music and events, food trucks utilizing Surf’s kitchen, breweries, game companies, markets, and “experiential stuff” such as the Haunted House they turn the Emporium Logan Square into every year.
On the flipside, this is the second major change in Surf’s six-month existence. In October, Marks switched up the food program to focus on creative burritos, named “Burrito Lab,” and implemented some cosmetic changes to the space. Surf is still open a few days a week but the transitioning of the space is ongoing throughout January, culminating in Branca Bar opening on Feb. 1. Stay tuned for intel on future concepts.