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North Center’s New Craft Beer-Focused Replacement for Northdown Opens Friday

Welcome Wooden Nickel to Lincoln and Belmont

There’s a new tenant inside the former Northdown space.
Ashok Selvam
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

A new bar is pegged for a Friday debut inside the former Northdown Cafe and Taproom near Lincoln and Belmont. Wooden Nickel Bar & Grill is owned by the same team behind Floyd’s Pub in Bucktown and the new bar at 3244 N. Lincoln Avenue in North Center will have a strong commitment to craft beer. They’ll also serve food.

They’ve cleaned the space up, but the basic layout remains the same. The area above the bar will be decorated with wooden carvings featuring local sports teams. Employees were setting up the space on Wednesday, but they had hung up the Blackhawks’ familiar Native American head logo. The previous tenant didn’t have such a focus on sports, but Wooden Nickel owner Tony Glanz is catering more to fans. But at the same time the space isn’t inundated with flatscreens. There are plans for only three TVs.

Rocking at the Nickel

Posted by Wooden Nickel Chicago on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

While a menu wasn’t immediately available, an employee at Wooden Nickel said the food will be different compared to Floyd’s. Glanz is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The school’s mascot is the buffalo, so expect a few nods to the animal throughout the bar.

Northdown, one of the better bars for craft beer in Chicago, suddenly closed earlier this year without an announcement. Beer nerds knew of the bar’s extensive cellar selection. Wooden Nickel’s cellar selection won’t be as deep. Beer does spoil if not stored correctly, and that can be a depreciating asset.

Friday’s opening day at Wooden Nickel, but staff warn they’ll be in beta mode. They hope to tweak the concept over time to the neighborhood’s liking. The stretch of Lincoln north of Belmont could use a shot in the arm. Just south of Wooden Nickel, Fizz Bar & Grill has remained closed for almost a year and a half.

Wooden Nickel Bar & Grill, 3244 N. Lincoln Avenue, hours not posted yet.

Wooden Nickel Bar & Grill

3244 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL Visit Website