One of Chicago’s most popular sports bar quietly closed last month in Old Town to allow crews to renovate the 8-year-old space. Benchmark will reopen on Friday night at 1510 N. Wells Street with a new look and a new menu. Designers have retained the sports bar’s familiar layout and installed new furniture, a new bar, TVs, and decorations.
The bar has long been the crown jewel for Four Corners Tavern Group, but as new development continues to sprout up in Old Town, ownership figured it was time for a refresh. They brought in Siren Betty Design to oversee the changes. They’re the firm behind the projects including Giant and Pink Squirrel in Logan Square and Press Room in West Loop.
Benchmark shut down on April 1, soon after March Madness. Sports bars have an unfortunate habit of feeling stuffy by only catering to the stereotypical man. So Siren Betty’s Nicole Alexander and her crew set out to make Benchmark feel more inclusive. For example knowing that Instagram photos heavily factor into a night out, they’ve created more Instagram friendly spots to shoot selfies. While several men are certainly vain enough to snap a barrage selfies, the women are usually the ones snapping photos, Alexander said: “It’s just not a dude bar,” she added. “It’s for dudes and chicks.”
They’ve replaced the lights, added velvet booths, and some neon. The second floor still features its retractable roof. There’s new flooring, tiles and LEDs embedded into columns. The new menus feature pizzas and more of that bar fare customers have come to expect from Four Corners.
Four Corners other Wells Street property, SteakBar, is also prepping for changes as ownership prepares a revamp inside that bar that opened two years ago. A Four Corners rep didn’t have details yet, but there have been job listings circulating the web for a space called 80 Proof with a projected June 1 opening date at 1500 N. Wells Street. It’s still open, despite the imminent relaunch.
Meanwhile take a look at Benchmark’s menus below. An old favorite is reborn starting tonight..