On and off open for years, the former Nick’s Uptown space has new life thanks to the team behind LGBTQ bars SoFo Tap and Meeting House Tavern. This fall, they’ll unveil 2Bears Tavern Uptown, a shot-and-beer bar with free pinball and darts. Most importantly for fans of Nick’s, 2Bears will retain the 4 a.m. late-night liquor license.
Ownership hopes to open in late October or early November.
“This is the quintessential Chicago neighborhood bar where you can come as you are, be who you are, and feel comfortable in your community,” co-owner Mark Robertson says. “It’s for everybody in the neighborhood with a focus the LGBTQIA community.”
At about 2,000 square feet, 2Bears Uptown will offer a mix of local beers on tap, draft margaritas, and a seasonally rotating draft cocktail costing between $8 to $10. Customers can expect seven TVs for sports and watch parties.
This isn’t a fancy cocktail lounge; it’s a shot-and-beer-type establishment with a collection of “handshake” combos that expand on the tradition of the original Chicago Handshake (a shot of Jeppson’s Malört and an Old Style). New combos include the “Halsted Handy” (Fireball, Ciderboys First Press) and the “Agave-HAAY” (Exotico Blanco, Tecate tall boy). The bar will also serve several zero-proof and CBD-infused drinks.
Robertson and business partner Mike Sullivan are well-known operators in Chicago’s LGBTQ bar community thanks to SoFo Tap, Meeting House Tavern in Andersonville, and Jackhammer, their dance club in Rogers Park. The pair were also involved with landmark LGBTQ sports bar Crew Bar + Grill in Uptown before it closed in 2017. Thus far Meeting House is the only spot they’ve reopened so far, but SoFo Tap is slated to return Thursday, July 29. They hope to be able to reopen Jackhammer in September.
2Bears Tavern Uptown, 1140 W. Wilson Avenue, Slated to open in late October or early November.