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Village Tap Owner Mike Green, Craft Beer Pioneer, Dead At 57

By Patty Wetli | October 13, 2017 9:57am
 Family and friends are mourning the sudden loss of Mike Green, a stalwart of Chicago's bar scene.
Family and friends are mourning the sudden loss of Mike Green, a stalwart of Chicago's bar scene.
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Facebook/Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce

ROSCOE VILLAGE — Tributes are pouring in following the sudden death on Tuesday of Mike Green, 57, owner of the Village Tap in Roscoe Village.

Green, a father of two, is being remembered as a leader in the community, a craft beer pioneer and "best guy" by all who knew him.

"He would treat you like his old pal the first time you met, ask all about you and then listen to the answers. He cared about everyone and everyone was better because of it," Tessa Orzech, who ran a weekly comedy show at the Tap, posted to Facebook.

"I can't picture the neighborhood without him. For almost 20 years I've had the honor to be able to consider him a friend, ally, confidant and mentor. He was an all-around nice guy with a quick smile who was easy to spend time with, and happy to share his knowledge. To say he will be missed would be an understatement," Jon Young, owner of Kitsch'n', shared on social media.

Green opened the Village Tap, 2055 W. Roscoe St., in 1990 and was an active board member of the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, which credited him as the driving force behind the neighborhood's successful Burger Fest.

"Mike was a pillar in our community, one who was respected and loved by all who knew him. His incredibly kind personality, positive attitude and natural leadership ability will be missed tremendously," the chamber said in a statement.

Members of Chicago's craft beer community lauded Green's role as a forward thinking bar owner who took a chance on up and comers when few others would.

"People never include the Village Tap as a craft beer pioneer in the same breath as Map Room, Sheffields, Hop Leaf or Delilah's, but they were. In my eyes, Mike Green will always stand tall in the annals of the Chicago bar business," John Freyer of Argus Brewery posted to Facebook.

Larry James Bell, owner of Michigan-based Bell's Brewery, chimed in: "One of my earliest supporters. Definitely under appreciated for his part in developing the craft market in Chicago."

Greg Hall, former brewmaster at Goose Island and founder of Virtue Cider, recalled that Green was one of Goose Island's first half-dozen accounts.

"The Tap he ran then was never snobby, that continues today. Mike treated all his customers, whether they order 312, Miller Lite or the newest juicy IPA, like family members. That commitment to hospitality is rare today, that’s how I’ll remember Mike Green," Hall wrote on Facebook.

Chris Chatman, operating partner at Links Taproom and former manager at Bar on Buena and Fountainhead, had been a customer at and admirer of Green and the Tap for 20 years. He and his wife celebrated their engagement at the bar and later the first birthdays of both of their sons.

"Mike and his staff always made us feel a part of the extended family he had created," Chatman wrote in an eloquent Facebook post.

"With Mike's passing we've lost a true testament to what it means to run a place that becomes an anchor of the community. I've been lucky enough to run a few neighborhood gems in my day, and have always kept him in mind as inspiration, a source of guidance, and a role model in an industry that needs more people like him," Chatman said.

Funeral services for Green were scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe.