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Self-Serve Beer Bar Tapster to Close in Wicker Park

The bar started the self-pour fad in Chicago

Tapster’s taps.
Tapster opened in 2017.
Nick Fochtman/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Tapster, the pour-your-own-beer bar that was one of the first in Chicago to use those card-operated dispensers that reduced the need for bartenders, is closing in Wicker Park.

Co-founder Roman Maliszewski confirms the news saying that the Lincoln Park location, which opened in 2018, will remain open and is doing great. The brand is selling its first location at 2027 W. North Avenue.

“The traffic in Wicker Park just hasn’t been what it used to be before the pandemic,” Maliszewski writes. “From our perspective, Wicker Park is not as safe or as much of a destination as it was in 2017 when we opened.”

Tapster features 68 self-pour taps with kegs filled with beer, batched cocktails, kombucha, and cold brew. While there’s no need for bartenders, hospitality came in the form of staffers who could recommend a beer and help with any technical issues. The self-pour model allows drinkers to try more beers at their own pace, and cards would automatically cut customers off after a limit. Other spots including Navigator Taproom in Logan Square and District Brew Yards in West Town use the same equipment.

The bar will have one final hurrah as crowds descend the Milwaukee, North, and Damen for Wicker Park Fest. Its last day will be Saturday, July 29.