The Tokyo Olympic Games are set to begin on Friday, albeit with some significant pandemic changes. That’s not stopping bi-level sports bar and restaurant Fatpour Wicker Park from going all out for the summer games with a massive pop-up. Fatpour Olympic Village is scheduled to run through Sunday, July 8 featuring a special menu of internationally-inspired pizzas, thematic cocktails, table competitions, and more at 2005 W. Division Street. They have the games famed rings parked in front of the bar.
As with most things since March 2020, tonight’s opening ceremony will be pretty weird: the stands, usually crowded with fans, will be largely empty. There’ll be fewer marchers too, as some athletes haven’t yet arrived in Tokyo and others are quarantining in their much-discussed cardboard beds.
Fatpour, however, doesn’t have these problems so fans can revel en masse at an Opening Ceremonies event slated to begin at 5 p.m. Friday. Pizza options include German-themed pie the Fassbender (white sauce, sauerkraut, beer bratwurst, brown mustard, beer-braised onion, gouda). Mexico, Ireland, Greece, France, and “‘Murica’” all get nods as well. Organizers also promise DJs and giveaways, and they hope attendees will get into the sartorial spirit with Olympic-themed outfits too. Tickets are available online with table and booth packages running from $60 to $125.
Pop culture pop-up bars have found enormous success in Chicago, but unauthorized use of intellectual property has previously lead to cease-and-desist letters and stars publicly distancing themselves from unofficial events. Fatpour owner Erik Baylis of Big Onion Hospitality (Hopsmith) isn’t concerned about a lawsuit at this point, according to a rep who points to a Denver bar that in 2018 also held an extensive Olympics-themed pop-up. The Olympics are also known to fiercely defend its intellectual properties.
Here are a few other spots around town where Chicagoans can watch world-class athletes compete for gold.
- Nisei Lounge: A venerable Wrigleyville dive, Nisei has served as a welcome retreat for Chicagoan sports fans for seven decades. Any occasion, especially one that’s athletics-related, is a good excuse to belly up to this bar.
- Park & Field: This retro sports bar in Logan Square has a sizable patio where patrons can catch the action on one of many outdoor TVs while trying craft beers and well-executed bar food. Reservations are required to ensure a table outside.
- The Globe Pub: North Center’s well-known soccer bar will show the Olympic Games on its TVs, and even replay events by request. It’s a solid spot for draft brews, casual pub fare, and high-energy fans.
- The Dandy Crown: This cocktail spot in River West is comfy, fashionable, and has a big TV over the bar so patrons can sip in style while cheering on their favorite athletes and teams.
- Bandit: This West Loop bar has TVs outside and inside and a special cocktail, the Gold Medal (Grand Mariner, Joto Yuzu Sake, Amaretto, and lemon).
And in other news…
— Street festival Taste of Lincoln Avenue kicks off at noon on Saturday and runs through Sunday with lots of live music and food from local hits including Tandoor Char House, Bacino’s, Tata’s Tacos, Carnitas Roldan, El Campeon, Genoa Italian Concessions, Latin Fuego, Snowie Shaved Ice, and Kavnia Coffee. The fest goes north on Lincoln Avenue from Fullerton with main entrances at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, Fullerton Avenue, and Halsted Street. More details are available online.
— Christina Tosi’s twee dessert chain Milk Bar will pop up for an “epic birthday party” from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Parson’s Chicken and Fish in Logan Square, 2952 W. Armitage Avenue, according to a rep. It’s part of a nationwide tour dubbed National Birthday Do Over Month where sweet toothed patrons can find favorites like cereal milk soft serve, Milk Bar pie, and a few surprise collaborative items with Parson’s. Reservations are fully booked but walk-ins are allowed on a first come, first serve basis. There’s still no word if and when Milk Bar would ever open a Chicago outlet.
— Acclaimed Milwaukee chef Justin Carlisle (Ardent) will host a series of tasting menu dinners next month at Hidden Acres Farm in Door County, Wisconsin. A five-time James Beard Award finalist who previously worked at Michelin-starred Tru and New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, Carlisle will feature eight-course menus ($185) for parties of two or four at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 18 through Friday, August 20, and again the following week, Thursday, August 26 through Saturday, August 28. Reservations are available via Tock.
— Fast food giant McDonald’s on Thursday announced a plan to increase its purchasing from “diverse-owned suppliers” — business owned by women, and people who are Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indigenous, LGBTQ, a veteran, or have a disability — by 25 percent in the next four years, according to Crain’s. In 2020, the brand says 23 percent its supply chain purchases were from these suppliers. The move comes after a series of lawsuits from workers and franchisees alleging racist and discriminatory practices at the company.