There’s been a lot of local buzz in Bucktown and Wicker Park surrounding the Silver Cloud Bar & Grill space, a spot which went dark four years ago, but there’s now definitive news on a new bar and restaurant that should open in early July at the corner of Damen and Wabansia. Tricycle is from Silver Cloud co-owner Rivak “Rocky” Albazi.
Earlier this winter, Albazi described his new project at 1700 N. Damen Avenue as an ode to nostalgia. He meant to open earlier but a few infrastructure problems delayed the project. His crews have kept Silver Cloud’s bar intact, spruced up the space, and created a new menu based on current tastes opposed to what customers ate 23 years ago. Albazi is an architect by trade who also owns Lakeview craft beer bar Sheffield’s. He co-owned Silver Cloud for 19 years before its shutter.
The inspiration for Tricycle came from some of his urban planning classes. He learned about the “third place,” a term coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. Tricycle, with its three wheels, is meant to fill that niche in the community as a place to spend time between home and work. Third places are where community members meets, share ideas, and build rapports with their neighbors.
“I really wanted to created a local living room for everybody,” Albazi said.
Silver Cloud closed in 2014 after 19 years as a neighborhood bar with pub fare. Albazi owned the spot with Cynthia Oldham, who later left the business and is currently in charge at Fat Cat, an Uptown bar. After the shutter, Albazi said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with the space. He confirmed that Hogsalt Hospitality’s Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval) was interested in the space. No deals materialized, so he kept the space in his pocket.
Tricycle’s interior features the same layout as Silver Cloud, the same bar remains to the right of the door. Albazi added more banquettes with tables that can easily be pushed together for larger groups; he imagines strangers putting down their phones and engaging in conversation about neighborhood doings or current events. He’s not anti-technology, though. There will be WiFi and outlets to charge laptops and phones. Sports fans can watch games on TVs.
“It’s not too different from what it was before, but it’s more updated,” Albazi said.
Sheffield’s is known for its deep vintage beer selection. While Tricycle won’t offer as many options, it will have a few bottles available if a customer wants to celebrate — Albazi said the wine selection will be impressive. The new spot is meant to be a place where locals can visit more than once per week and at the same time have a few menu choices for that special night out. Albazi has brought over spirits and beer director/operations partner, Mark Tolliver, to oversee Tricycle. The beer program is American craft classic with a few European selections that they don’t normally carry at Sheffield’s. The cocktail list will be a little different from Silver Cloud’s in going beyond classic beverages, Albazi said.
The food maintains the supper club/pub fare vibe from Silver Cloud, but the menu’s been refined with more vegan and vegetarian options. It’s modern American fused with Asian flavor. Sample items include a skirt steak and mussels. Albazi also promised healthier options.
The neighborhood was different 23 years ago, as Albazi remembers opening the doors to Silver Cloud and then posting up at the host stand, waiting to see if any customers would visit. The area isn’t as sleepy now, thanks to development. He’s listened to neighborhood leaders and chatter on social media.
“I’m excited to have it open,” Albazi said. “It was on the back burner, it wasn’t a priority, and now it’s like any project one you get into it — I’m anxious to get it open.”
Check back for more on this long-awaited bar/restaurant in the coming weeks.