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Intelligentsia's New Wicker Park Coffeebar Plans to Sell Draft Beer, Cider

By Alisa Hauser | July 16, 2014 8:22am
 Inside Intelligentsia's new Wicker Park coffee shop.
Intelligentsia in Wicker Park
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WICKER PARK — Intelligentsia is opening its seventh Chicago coffeebar at the base of an 11-story apartment building that towers over Wicker Park's Ashland and Division intersection and was hailed as the city's first Transit-Oriented development when it opened in October.

And, if all goes as planned, the new Intelligentsia — scheduled to open at 6:30 a.m. Thursday — could be the coffee roaster's first Chicago outpost to offer craft beers, cider, meads and sparkling teas on draft in addition to chilled espresso and coffee.

Intelligentsia spokesman Stephen Morrissey confirmed Tuesday that the Wicker Park Coffeebar at 1609 W. Division St. plans to offer ciders on tap as well as draft craft beer before the end of the summer.

The concept of pairing coffee with beer is nothing new for the roaster, which partnered with DryHop Brewery to create "My Mirrors Are Black," a Cuban coffee stout beer made with Intelligentsia's Yirgacheffe Ethiopia coffee blend.

Intelligentsia has previously partnered with Three Floyd's Brewery on the brewer's Dark Lord beer recipe too

Morrissey said no other Chicago Intelligentsia locations offer beer and cider, though an Intelligentsia in Pasadena, Calif. offers craft beer and wine.

"Every new store is different. We want to create a new space to enjoy beer and coffee side by side," Morrissey said.

Morrissey, who is Irish, said in Europe, "It is common to have both wine and beer offered in coffee shops."

The coffee shop at 1609 W. Division St., on the southwest corner of Ashland Avenue and Division Street,  has seats for about 25 people who can sit on movable cubes that also serve as surface spots for laptops and drinks.

The shop also has seating at a community table and at a long bench equipped with electrical outlets.

Though Intelligentsia has not yet applied for a liquor license for the shop, Raymond Valadez, a spokesman for Ald. Moreno (1st), said, "We don't have any reason to object to it."

Intelligentsia, which sells pastries from Floriole Bakery, would apply for an "incidental" liquor license, meaning the majority of the coffebar's sales would have to come from food and coffee rather than beer or cider.

"I am very excited that Intelligentsia is going in there, they are a locally owned coffee company that adds more flavor to the street," Moreno said.

Intelligentsia's Wicker Park store manager Collin Moody said the new coffeebar will bring 10 new full-time jobs to the area.

The public is invited to an opening party at the shop from 6-10 p.m. Wednesday.

Intelligentsia Coffeebar, 1609 W. Division St., will be open from 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends.

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