LINCOLN PARK — The Wrightwood Tap is back, reopening as the renamed Tavern 57 — an understated way to honor two of the city's greatest sports stars.
New co-owner Richard Honquest said he's been onsite at 1059 W. Wrightwood Ave., sprucing the place up, since mid-May, and local residents have been hounding him for when it would reopen.
Although just off the Lincoln Avenue corridor, Honquest said the bar nonetheless felt the impact of the Children's Memorial Hospital closing, along with other bars and restaurants on Wrightwood and in the immediate area.
"With Children's going down, it's kind of been tough over here," he said.
Now, however, it's poised for a revival, with the nearby Elevate Lincoln Park high-rise set to be completed by the end of the year, and the Lincoln Common on the old Children's Memorial site to follow.
Tavern 57 formally opened two weeks ago, so it's found its footing in time to enjoy the overflow from Taste of Lincoln Avenue this weekend.
Honquest said locals would find it the same welcoming place.
"I loved the Wrightwood Tap," said the Ukrainian Village resident. "We just tried to make it aesthetically more in line with the Lincoln Park neighborhood."
To that end, they moved the entrance to the side on North Seminary Avenue, freeing up more space in the front of the room and easing street congestion on Wrightwood.
The bar has been replaced with a concrete top, sealed in a smooth epoxy. And the backroom has been made into more of a lounge for small groups or for sports fans who want to hunker down with an array of games on the TVs. Honquest said they've already booked the room for events.
Tavern 57 doesn't have a kitchen, but instead Honquest said they've formed a partnership with Pat's Pizza — 10 percent off on delivery orders to the bar, and another 10 percent off the bar tab. He added that they had 15 pizzas ordered in Thursday night.
Honquest said he's learned a lot of the logistics from one of his partners, a cousin who owns eight bars in Texas.
One of his suggestions they incorporated was installing a 220-volt line in the back where the bar has a small parking lot. Honquest said he hopes to regularly book what he calls "Up Your Alley Food-Truck Service" to come in and occupy the lot on weekends, especially come football season. Food trucks will cook for bar patrons, but also he said for local residents without any additional obligation.
"Who doesn't love food trucks?" Honquest said.
They'll get started this weekend by bringing in the Rogue Curbside Kitchen food truck to deal with anyone who leaves Taste of Lincoln Avenue still hungry.
Hours are 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m.-midnight Sunday, although Honquest said plans are to open at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday come football season.
Oh, and the 57 in Tavern 57? Honquest said it comes from a combination of the two most famous numbers in Chicago sports: Michael Jordan's 23 and Walter Payton's 34, which gives the space a sly sports theme without being upfront about it.