NORTH CENTER — At The Northman, cider is clearly the star of the show.
But in the two years it took to renovate the former Jury's restaurant (which had a brief second life as the Copper House), owners had plenty of time to pay attention to the decor, too.
During a recent tour of The Northman, which opened in March at 4337 N. Lincoln Ave., managing partner Aaron Zacharias revealed a few of the joint's Easter eggs and inside jokes.
"We wanted it to be fun," he said. "That's why we got into this."
[All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
The mural that dominates The Northman's bar serves a practical as well as aesthetic purpose. Set on rollers, the mural splits in half to reveal a pair of televisions tucked behind the artwork. That doesn't mean The Northman has aspirations to become a sports bar, Zacharias said. The TVs will be exposed sparingly, for major events like the Cubs in the World Series, he said.
Everything Old Is New Again
Electricity, not cider, flows from these taps. The rustic light fixtures were specially designed by The Northman's contractor and incorporate taps salvaged from Jury's, according to Zacharias.
The Writing's On The Wall
England is a cider stronghold, which made the discovery of this unusual wallpaper particularly felicitous. Look closely — it's a map of London, Zacharias said.
Take A Seat
The small alcove-like seating area to the left of The Northman's entrance has been dubbed "The Snug" by Zacharias. "That's our big nod to English pub culture," he said of the cozy cluster of tables. The booth in the corner, he added, is his favorite seat in the house.
Watch Your Step
Hey, former Jury's patrons, recognize these maple floors? Probably not. The hardwood is original to the building but it was buried under layers of carpet and tile. New, eye-catching tile was laid along the bar and while it might look custom-made in The Northman's trademark blue — itself a nod to France's Normandy region — it was actually another random lucky find, Zacharias said.
Now You See It, Now You Don't
The Northman has dozens of ciders on draft. What customers see: Beverages poured from the bar's gleaming taps. What customers don't see: The less than attractive tubing connecting the taps to the cider's source in The Northman's basement.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: