Pop-ups have become the trendy way for Chicago bars to lure customers with bar owners mining pop culture for nostalgia. The latest theme involves Wayne’s World, the 1992 comedy that sprouted from Saturday Night Live featuring a pair of guys from suburban Chicago. Starting on April 20, Bucktown Pub will host a 10-day pop-up inspired by actors Mike Myers and Dana Carvey called Wayne’s Basement.
Here’s the description via Facebook:
“Come witness the transformation from Bucktown Pub to a [90s] suburban Aurora Illinois basement — complete with couch, chair and guitar! There will be plenty of Wayne’s World themed Around the Bend beers on tap, as well as a ridiculous Garth drink! We have plenty of other surprises up our sleeve, for this two-week long event that you won’t want to miss!”
The basement was where the movie’s main characters, Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, would record their fledgling public-access cable TV show based out of the suburbs — an hour’s drive west of Chicago. The movie helped popularize regrettable 90s phrases such as “excellent,” “party on,” and “schwing.” Myers, a huge hockey fan, made sure to fill the movies — there was also a sequel — with plenty of Blackhawks references. That included a fictional doughnut shop that was named after Blackhawk Hall of Famer Stan Mikita. The doughnut shop is a poke at Tim Horton’s, the coffeeshop chain that’s big in Canada and in the Detroit and Buffalo areas. Tim Horton was also a Hall of Fame hockey player and founded the chain.
Bucktown Pub GM Autumn Giltner said they’ll have about four signature cocktails and there’s one based on Garth, the brilliant, yet awkward drummer with the heart of gold. Garth’s drink will be a large format tiki-like beverage. Giltner’s toying around with making the drink pricey and donating proceeds to charity, perhaps a group that donates music instruments to underprivileged kids. The pop-up is a collaboration with Around the Bend, and they’ll rename six of the brewery’s beers. They’ll use names like “A Sphincter Says What?” The staff will be dressed up and they’re encouraging costumes from customers.
Footman Hospitality owns Bucktown Pub, as well as Sparrow in Gold Coast and Bangers & Lace in Wicker Park. They’re collaborating with Emporium Arcade Bar on Emporium’s Fulton Market location. Emporium helped start the bar pop-up trend thanks to its incredibly popular Stranger Things pop-up that launched in August. The story surrounded the inventive pop-up with TV-set quality props and cocktails based on the Netflix TV show, became a viral news story. While unauthorized, Netflix’s attorneys allowed the pop-up to end after a two-month run. Emporium has continued its pop-ups in Logan Square with a sorcery theme that kicks off on Friday. Meanwhile, other bars are diving into the pop-up scene. Replay Lincoln Park has held Simpsons and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia pop-ups. The Rookery in West Town recently finished its own creepy pop-up based on The Shining. Perhaps pop-culture pop-ups are here to stay.
Wayne’s Basement has nothing to do with Emporium. Giltner and Around the Bend’s director of sales Lindsey Stocks are both big Wayne’s World fans and came up with the idea. The event page has been posted for a day and there’s already a lot of interest.
“Everybody was doing pop-ups,” Giltner said. “I said ‘I want to do that.’”
Wayne’s Basement starts on April 20 and goes through April 29.