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Glunz Tavern Celebrates 125 Years of History With Throwback Menu

By DNAinfo Staff on November 24, 2013 8:27am

  The Old Town tavern has held a series of special events during a five-day celebration.
Glunz Tavern Celebrates 125 Years of History With Throwback Celebration
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OLD TOWN — Since the Glunz Tavern reopened in 2012, Laura Sterkel has kept coming back for its deviled eggs.

But while the food's delicious, Sterkel insists there's more to the tavern that traces its history to 1888.

"You could tell they care about their family history," said Sterkel, a Lincoln Park resident and a tavern regular. "This is Chicago history."

"It's Old Chicago," her husband, Rob Sterkel, added.

Glunz Tavern, 1202 N. Wells St., celebrated 125 years with a celebration that began Tuesday and culminates in a Viennese-style supper Sunday honoring the Austrian heritage of the family whose name the tavern bears.

To be clear, for much of that time the tavern existed only in memory, closed for about 90 years after Prohibition became law in the 1920s.

Barbara Glunz, granddaughter of the bar's founder Louis Glunz I, and her son, Christopher Donovan, reopened the Glunz Tavern next to their House of Glunz wine and spirits shop in 2012.

The tavern reopened with a turn-of-the-20th-century feel with dark woods, an ornate ceiling and several antique photos and posters highlighting the Glunz family's role as alcohol distributors lining the walls. 

The celebration featured several highlights of the tavern's history in the neighborhood, including a Tuesday night dinner honoring Old Town's Italian immigrant roots and a two-day dinner menu featuring throwback sandwiches — corned beef, Thuringer, imported sardines and others on the sandwich board used at the original incarnation of the tavern.

"There's a historic feel to this place," said Natalie Hamrick, a 31-year-old Gold Coast resident dining at the tavern Saturday for the first time. "It's not like other taverns in Chicago."

On Sunday, the tavern's celebration ends, but not without an extravagent nod to its Austrian heritage. The tavern is offering a three-course meal of Liptauer cheese and smoked fish, wiener schnitzel with spaetzle, and apple strudel.