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The Victor Bar, Parisian-Style Cocktail Bar, Coming to North Center

 Expect unique cocktail presentations at The Victor Bar, similar those served at Nightjar in London.
Expect unique cocktail presentations at The Victor Bar, similar those served at Nightjar in London.
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NORTH CENTER — North Center may have become a hub for the city's craft brewing movement but the Fehr brothers are betting that the neighborhood's beer drinkers are cocktail lovers, too.

The Fehrs — John, Karl and Graeme — just submitted their application to operate The Victor Bar, a Parisian-style cocktail bar, at 4011 N. Damen Ave. slightly north of the Damen/Irving Park/Lincoln intersection.

"We've been passionately interested in the cocktail culture in Chicago for the past 10 years," said Karl Fehr, who, with his brothers, runs a boutique law firm out of the Monadnock Building.

Impressed with the neo-speakeasies that have cropped up in New York, London and Tokyo, the Fehrs are looking to bring a similar sensibility to The Victor Bar.

Picture parquet floors, a custom-made zinc bar, low lighting and decor that hearkens back to Paris in the early 20th century, according to Karl.

For points of reference, Fehr mentioned L.A.'s The Varnish and Employees Only in New York City — both of which limit their cocktail offerings to a relatively small menu — and Nightjar in London, known for its unique cocktail presentations.

"We've put in a lot of research on this," he said.

Violet Hour is perhaps the closest local comparison to what he and his brothers are aiming for with The Victor Bar, Fehr said, but on a much smaller scale.

"We want to keep it very intimate," with seating-only for about 35 people, he said.

The sophisticated vibe is not intended to intimidate patrons, Fehr emphasized.

Though he anticipates The Victor Bar will become a date-night destination, there won't be a dress code, he said.

"We don't want to have a snooty attitude," Fehr said. "Our goal is not to make the customer impress us but for us to impress them."

In addition to 15 cocktails that will change out seasonally, The Victor Bar will offer a full range of spirits, allowing patrons to order drinks off-menu, as well as "some really good beers," he said.

There's no kitchen at the location, but the Fehrs are planning on making small bites and snacks available: something salty like roasted pumpkin seeds, something savory like olives or cheese, and something sweet like chocolates or caramels.

First, the Fehrs need to obtain a zoning change in order to acquire a tavern license, which they hope to have approved by May. A community meeting on the rezoning request has yet to be scheduled, according to Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th).

If all goes well with the licensing process, Fehr estimates renovations to the space — formerly home to a jewelry store but currently vacant — could take another two to three months, with a tentative opening date in late August or early September.

The reaction they're hoping for when people walk in the door: "Wow, we don't have anything like this in the city," he said.

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