The City of Chicago is mere days away from getting its first bar where customers will pour all their own beer. Tapster, at 2027 W. North Ave., is fully built and ready to go — only needing the final city inspection before opening, which owner Roman Maliszweski hopes will happen this week.
Customers will enter via a large wooden T that lights up in the nighttime. Inside, the rustic space with exposed brick walls is divided into three sections by half-staircases. The front room houses all 32 beer taps and eight wine taps on the "Tapwall" on the left side. Each tap section is outfitted with a touch screen that describes each beverage and its ABV, with a slot to place your "Tapcard" in order to fill up and track your orders. A mural above describes how to pour beer and use the taps. On the opposite wall is a host stand of sorts where staffers sell and refill cards, and a variety of wooden hand-made seating options: low tables, standing high-tops, benches and counters.
The second level is outfitted with comfortable leather armchairs, tree-stump seats, and more tables. Another tap wall is in this section, which features self-serve draft cocktails, craft sodas, Metric cold brew coffee, and Kombucha. The only bar lies in this area, where customers can order shots and other liquor options. Also expect live acoustic music in this area.
The rear of the space, which is bright with white-washed walls, plants, and a large skylight, houses the food. A deli counter will serve sandwiches, panini, Belgian waffles, craft popcorn, sausages, fruit, and cheese and chocolate fondue. There’s a long communal table here to nosh on your food, relax with your laptop during the day, and is also slated for classes. Also look for a dual set of swings, which is destined to be an Instagram magnet. All furniture, except the swings, is handmade by Mike Schmidt of Salvage Wood Goods. The walls are lined with local art, all of which is for sale.
Although suburban Elmhurst got a pour-all-your-own-beer bar (Red Arrow Taproom) and another is slated to open in Logan Square in June (Navigator Taproom), Tapster will be the city’s first of this growing trend. Stay tuned for the opening date and the full menus, and take a tour of the space below.