Small Bar: The Little Bar with a Big Heart

Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce - Friday, June 01, 2012

This blog post was contributed by: Malcolm Logan, a freelance writer and Wicker Park Bucktown resident. Visit his website at He can be reached at

Feeling a little down lately? Tired of the same old thing when it comes to bars?  Same old weak beer selection, same old uninspired food.

Take heart!

If you’ve been looking for a bar that feels your need for something edgier, Small Bar has you covered.  Ever tried Poutine? They’ve been loving it long time in Quebec.  At Small Bar you can dive into this decadent mix of French Fries and cheese curds covered in brown gravy. Or how about duck confit on flat bread with gruyere cheese and carmelized onions?  Or pork meat balls with blue cheese baked polenta and jalapeno bacon jam?


Great Ceasar’s ghost!  Is this really a bar or the experimental lab of some edgy young chef cackling maniacally as he concocts daring admixtures.

Truth. It’s both. Chef Justin White, formerly sous chef at the highly regarded Custom House has been given carte blanche to let his creativity run wild here, and the result is bar food unlike any you’ll find anywhere.  

While other bars offer you potato skins and quesadillas to nosh on while watching the game, Small Bar wows with paprika spiced pumpkin seeds, spiced and candied peanuts, and edamame with grey salt and lemon.  I, for one, would easily trade another tiresome jalapeno popper for one of chef White’s scrumptious Parmesan and thyme pastry puffs any day.

So what makes this a bar, and not a gourmet restaurant masquerading as the local tap?  

Well, how about a staggering beer selection with more than 100 varieties to choose from?  How about 24 carefully selected craft brews on tap?  How about daily drink specials and a full bar?  If you’re looking for a place that respects your taste in quality potations, Small Bar is for you.

But at the end of the day isn’t a good bar about hanging out with your friends, maybe taking in a game?  Small Bar is right there.

Small Bar watches the volume.  You can hear the music, but you don’t have to shout. The TVs feature sports, and if you happen to be an Association League Football Fan, Katie bar the door!  

Association League Football – that’s the international soccer league to us Americans – gets the red carpet treatment here.  We’re talking Association League games in real time, which means the place is mobbed on Saturday mornings with fanatical Europeans and other international types shouting and carrying on as they wolf down Small Bar’s delicious brunch.  It’s so good, the US Soccer Federation has named Small Bar the number one soccer bar in the country!

If you love Association League Football, Small Bar has it on for you.  If you love a huge selection of quality beer, Small Bar is right there for you.  If you appreciate outstanding bar food by a renowned chef, Small Bar has its arms opens for you.

Small Bar is the little bar with a big heart.  If you’re feeling down, it will pick you up.

Small Bar

2049 Division
(between Damen and Hoyne)
in Wicker Park
(773) 772-2727 

Catching March Madness in Wicker Park Bucktown

Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce - Friday, March 09, 2012

This blog entry was contributed by: Mark Dollard, Realtor. Visit his blog at He can be reached at

The options for catching spring’s most exciting sporting event are plentiful in Wicker Park and Bucktown.

Given our un-seasonally mild winter/spring, now is a fan-tastic time to get out of the house and catch some tournament games.  Here are some great options.

Very Tasty White Chili at The AnthemVery Tasty White Chili at The Anthem.

One of the newest bars in the neighborhood,
The Anthem
, is also a natural spot to check out some March Madness games.

Great versions of classic pub grub grace the menu and the television setup is terrific.  I’ve heard that they will have a wing and bucket special as well as a bracket contest with some nice prizes.  The huge American flag also brings home the atmosphere for a most quintessentially American sports tradition.  Since it’s a ‘70s-styled venue, be sure to rock some Chuck Taylors, a headband and sports goggles to fit in.

Right down the street, The Boundary has a really energetic March Madness crowd every spring.

High quality bar food, loads of televisions, and the assurance that you will be able to see every single tournament game should keep this spot at the top of your March Madness list.

Of course, The 50/Fifty is another great option.

Scratch-made comfort food and 19 TVs will make sure that you have a great seats and eats.  Plus with the multiple unique levels, you can find a different vibe when the game’s over.  This spot will definitely be lively for the tournament.

Wicker Park Tavern is a particularly terrific place for two kinds of March Madness participants: Michigan State fans and value seekers.

The Tavern is a very MSU Spartan-friendly spot (there are flags everywhere) and the daily specials are quite good.  Given that Michigan State is a likely 1 or 2 seed this March and is a contender almost every year, the crowd should be very energetic and knowledgeable.

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