Schoolyard Tavern, the Lakeview bar sold earlier this year after 24 years of operation, will officially open on Sunday with a total menu revamp and a larger craft beer selection. Last month, the owners of Links Taproom — a craft beer bar in Wicker Park — announced the purchase of the tavern from Four Corners. They closed Schoolyard on June 14 to swap out furniture and make other interior changes.
While Four Corners now focuses on large-scale projects, Links owner Mike Quinlan was more than delighted to snap up Schoolyard as he and his partners grow their own bar business. Schoolyard joins Links as Quinlan’s second bar, and he said last month he didn’t want to make big changes. While the new menu includes items like sausages (yes, they’re bringing links to Lakeview) and loaded fries/tots. There are also cheese curds and kid’s menu. It’s a 100-percent new menu, as ownership changed their minds about keeping items from the old regime. However, they’re not changing the bar’s sports team affiliations, so Marquette hoops and Illini football fans can breathe easier.
One change is the back bar will no longer have private beer taps on its two “King’s Tables.” But beer lovers shouldn’t bemoan the loss — it’s like throwing out that old college couch. Ownership installed DigitalPour flatscreens throughout the bar. These screens show the tap list, how much beer’s left in each keg, and allow customers to use social media and check-in via a variety of platforms, including Untappd. Links has a similar set up. Cheap beer fans shouldn’t worry as Hamm’s, Miller High Life, and other canned brews are still available.
As mentioned, the sale of the bar represented Four Corners’ continued focus on bigger projects. Schoolyard was Four Corners first bar as the company went on to open bars such as Federales, Benchmark, and Porter Kitchen & Tap. Four Corners is a subsidiary of Sterling Bay, the developer that just shared their plans for Lincoln Yards, the $5 billion development near Elston and North avenues.
While a spokesperson said Sunday’s opening night for Schoolyard 2.0, don’t be surprised if it quietly debuts earlier. They were serving friends and family on Wednesday. Check out the menu and drink list below.
Schoolyard Tavern, 3258 N. Southport Avenue, open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays; 11 a.m. and 2 a.m. on weekends.