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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Welcome Back Lounge Bringing ’70s Vibes And Comfort Food To Logan Square

The owners of The Whale and The Vig are behind the new spot, which celebrates "our school house years of the 70s and 80s.”

Nora Katherine Balayti of Nora Kate Paints works on the sign at Welcome Back Lounge, 2423 N. Milwaukee, Thursday afternoon.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli / Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — The group behind The Whale is gearing up to open a new tavern in Logan Square.

The new bar, called Welcome Back Lounge, is planned for 2423 N. Milwaukee Ave., right next to The Whale, according to a building permit on its front door.

Construction was underway Thursday as two people on scaffolding traced out the bar’s name and then painted it red against a turquoise background.

Legacy Hospitality, which also owns The Vig in Old Town, said on its website and social media pages that Welcome Back will be “celebrating our school house years of the 70s and 80s.”

According to Welcome Back’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, visitors can expect menu items such as homestyle chili, a patty melt and michelada wings.

The bar’s concept is reminiscent of ’70s sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter,” which aired on ABC from 1975 to 1979. The comedy featured Gabe Kaplan as a satirical high school teacher teaching a diverse remedial class called the “Sweathogs.”

Ryan Marks, one of the owners of the hospitality group, declined to comment, so an opening date was unavailable.

Alderman Daniel La Spata’s spokesperson Allison Carvalho confirmed the bar is underway and said construction permits were issued before La Spata took office.

Permits that were issued Feb. 21, 2019 show Marks spent $320,000 to refurbish the building.

The storefront has been vacant since about 2017 and used to be an optometrist’s office.

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