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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Huettenbar’s New Owner Says Bar’s Old German Charm Will Remain When It Opens As Lincoln Square Taproom In July

Huettenbar closed late last year. The new owner says he wants the watering hole to stay rooted in the neighborhood's German American history, but it will offer a variety of Chicago-made brews.

The bar at 4721 N. Lincoln Ave. on May 1, 2021.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — The former Huettenbar will reopen this summer under new ownership as the Lincoln Square Taproom. 

Irma Frolich owned the beloved bar at 4721 N. Lincoln Ave. in the heart of Lincoln Square for 35 years. But neighbors grew concerned when they saw signs had been taken down from the building and items removed from inside in October. Frolich wouldn’t confirm rumors Huettenbar was closed for good and declined to answer questions about its future. 

Recently, a new banner was tacked up outside the bar, saying, “Lincoln Square Taproom Coming Soon.”

The bar’s new owner, Andrew Pillman, told Block Club his taproom is set to open in July. The space will get infrastructure upgrades but will keep much of its old German charm.  

“I should be getting our final building permit any day, and it’ll take us 60 days to build out. We’ve been able to salvage about 50 percent of the interior’s original wood,” Pillman said.

Pillman also said he is coordinating with the neighborhood’s German American cultural center to decorate the interior. 

“I’ve been in discussions with DANK Haus about potentially bringing some of the artwork from their museum to display here. And Karl Raack, the artist who did the original murals in the bar, he still lives in the neighborhood, and I’d like to have him paint a new mural,” he said.

Monica Jirak, DANK’s executive director, confirmed she met with Pillman last month and the nonprofit supports preserving and promoting as much of the bar’s German heritage as possible as it reopens. Jirak also said she spoke to Raack about the taproom’s wish to have him design a new mural.

Raack was not immediately available for comment. 

Credit: provided
One of the murals inside Huettenbar, 4721 N. Lincoln Ave.

Once it opens, the Lincoln Square Taproom will be Pillman’s second location. In July, he opened the Lakeview Taproom at 1426 W. Irving Park Road. Lakeview Taproom was in the works for about eight months before Pillman got approval to start construction, which was right around when the city shut down most indoor businesses during the pandemic’s first wave. 

“At that point, I decided to not hit pause and instead take our time to build out the Lakeview location the right way,” Pillman said.

The Lakeview Taproom features beers from local breweries like Empirical Brewery, Urban Labs Brewery, Begyle Brewing and Twisted Hippo.

Spotlighting local Chicago brews is something Pillman will continue when the Lincoln Square location opens.

“I’ll be planning to have beers on tap from Old Irving Brewing, Empirical, Urban Brew Labs. I’d like to eventually have some Dovetail beer on tap there, too, to kind of hit more of the German-style beers aspect of what Lincoln Square is used to,” Pillman said.

You can subscribe for updates on the bar’s plans at its website.

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