WICKER PARK — After months of anticipation, new '70s-inspired bar/restaurant/live music hybrid Rhyme or Reason "soft opened" Wednesday night along Division Street with plans for grand opening festivities later this month.
In a news release, owners Le’Qoinne Rice and Zafer Genc said Rhyme or Reason — spurred by a desire "to bring a fresh, vibrant new concept to a progressive and upcoming neighborhood such as Wicker Park" — combines their shared passions of food and music.
There is a small stage for bands and DJs.
"Local funk, deep soul and disco bands are welcome to perform live on our stage, as we hope to feature neighborhood favorites on a weekly basis. However, if you want to spin in our DJ Booth — it’s vinyls only," Rice and Genc said.
Bands interested in playing on the stage can send an email to Rhyme or Reason's Abigail Riechman.
Located in the former Jerry's Sandwiches intersection at 1938 W. Division Street, Rhyme or Reason appears much larger than its predecessor because a wall that had previously divided Jerry's bar from its dining room was removed, creating an open layout.
There are 174 seats inside — a mix of bar stools, tables, plush booths and leather loungers — and when the weather warms up, an outdoor patio will seat 75.
Seamless Designs' partners Bethany Mohr and Laura Tabachnick, who also designed Bucktown's AMK Kitchen and Hampton Social, created the cozy interior furnishings and "champagne lux lounge" with plush seating, while local artist Jas Peterson was commissioned for a bright and engaging mural along the base of the bar.
Rice said the name Rhyme or Reason was chosen because it reflects the longtime friendship between himself and Genc, who are "total opposites," he says.
"Our name, 'Rhyme or Reason' plays homage to our relationship — there is no logic to how our partnership came about. We just clicked and that's what mattered most," Rice said.
The bar's drink program, conceived by Rice, includes champagne on draft and specialty cocktails such as the rum-based "Saturday Night Fever" and a tequila concoction, "Bad Girls."
Rhyme or Reason, 1938 W. Division St., Hours are 4 p.m.-midnight Mondays and Tuesdays, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Saturdays and 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sundays. "Like" the restaurant on Facebook for updates or follow Rhyme or Reason on Twitter at @RhymeReasonChi, or Instagram at @RhymeorReason_Chi.