LINCOLN SQUARE — The return of the Chicago Brauhaus to Lincoln Square could happen as soon as next month as workers forge ahead on construction — including installing the closed restaurant’s red leather upholstered bar in its new location.
The Brahaus served huge steins of beer and authentic German food at 4732 N. Lincoln Ave. in the heart of Lincoln Square for 52 years. It closed in December 2017, but owners Harry and Guenther Kempf held on to much of the interior, including fixtures, chandeliers and the red bar.
In March, the nearby DANK Haus German American Cultural Center announced the Kempfs donated the interior to the organization and it would be reconstructed on the second floor of its hulking building at the southwest corner of Lawrence and Western avenues.
Since then, more than $35,000 has been donated by Brauhaus fans around the area, including nearly $9,000 on GoFundMe. The project’s overall pricetag is $50,000, and organizers hope to raise the remaining cash by Sept. 1, said Laura Engel, a spokesperson for DANK.
Once construction is complete, DANK plans to host private showings ahead of the grand opening to donors who give $50 or more. Additionally, DANK is also offering people who donate $500 the opportunity to get their names engraved on brass plates on bar stools.
“We are beyond thrilled that so many people are as passionate about the preservation of the Chicago Brauhaus as we have been,” said Monica Jirak, DANK’s executive director.
Michael Waechter, a DANK board member and principal at Waechter Architects, has been working with Harry and Guenther Kempf on the preservation project.
Waechter’s firm is working on the project pro bono. He said it’s important to him because Brauhaus is a part of the city’s German heritage and needs to be preserved.
“Everyone I talk to about the project seems to feel the same way I do. They have fond memories of Brauhaus and want to do whatever they can to help recreate the bar at DANK Haus,” said Waechter.
He’s already installed the Brauhaus’ original front doors at DANK, making sure to preserve the old stickers on the doors.
Crews are still in the process of installing the stained glass windows and the red upholstery that adorned the bar. They are also installing an upgraded keg system.
For more information on the renovation effort click here.