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Massive Bank/Cafe Hybrid To Replace Wicker Park Tavern In Winter 2018

By  Alisa Hauser and Ariel Cheung | October 24, 2017 9:34am 

 Building at 1954-1958 W. North Ave.
Building at 1954-1958 W. North Ave.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK —  The former Wicker Park Tavern sports bar at the corner of North and Damen avenues will become a bank — and a cafe.

On Monday, Capital One Cafe spokeswoman Courtney Rhodes confirmed the storefront at 1958 W. North Ave. is currently being converted from a bar into the city's third bank/cafe hybrid.

Set to open in winter 2018, or around this same time next year give or take a few months, the multi-level 13,000-square-foot Capital One Cafe will "serve as a community space where Wicker Park residents can recharge their bank accounts, devices and lives while learning new ways to manage their finances through free Capital One services like money coaching or money workshops," Rhodes said.

The cafe will also offer fee-free ATMs for Capital One customers, free WiFi for everyone, coffee from Peet's Coffee and local pastries. Those with Capital One cards will get 50 percent off beverages at the cafe, which will be stocked with drinks and pastries from Peet's Coffee.

Another Capital One Cafe at 3435 N. Southport Ave. in Lakeview is 7,500 square feet, with a sidewalk cafe and seats for 100. The site also hosts free workshops on topics like investing, group events and offers meeting space for community and nonprofit groups.

Tavern closed on October 15, ending the prominent corner storefront's century-long run as a bar. The sports bar — which went by the name Tavern — opened in 2005. Before that, it was Borderline. 

The building, which also includes the recently shuttered Cafe Absinthe at 1954 W. North and the Annex upstairs dance club, which closed earlier this month, has been owned by the Menetti family since 1979.

Teddy Menetti, the building's owner and Capital One Cafe's landlord, was not immediately available to comment on the forthcoming bank/cafe.

There are lots of other banking options near the new Capital One Cafe, albeit none with a cafe (unless the free coffee carafe, plate of cookies and two comfy chairs at the nearby Chase bank branch at 1849 W. North Ave. counts).

Directly across from the forthcoming Capital One Cafe there is a Bank of America at 1585 N. Milwaukee Ave., which commands the corner of Milwaukee and North avenues, and the nearby Byline Bank at 1555 N. Damen Ave.

The Virginia-based Capital One first announced plans for Chicago cafes in July 2016. It opened a cafe in January in Lincoln Park's New City complex at 1538 N. Clybourn Ave.

The bank aims to make financial planning "as easy as a cup of coffee, the way you start your day," Capital One business director Justin Evans previously said.

Banking "ambassadors" will be on hand to help cafe customers learn about financial options, whether they're with Capital One or not.

Hours are not yet available, but if the new Wicker Park Capital One Cafe is anything like the other two, the banking cafe itself will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, with condensed hours from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.