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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Lakeview Liquor Store Bitter Pops Expands To Open Kitchen, Taproom For Restaurant Service

Bitter Pops opened its taproom in May, offering a menu of burgers, chicken sandwiches and other dishes to pair with its drink selection.

Bitter Pops opened a taproom in May for customers to enjoy food and drink while staying at the business.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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LAKEVIEW — Bitter Pops, a family-owned liquor store in Lakeview, recently opened a taproom and kitchen so customers can enjoy food and drinks while hanging out at the store.

The Bitter Pops taproom soft opened in May at the liquor store’s new location, 3357 N. Lincoln Ave.

The owners moved to expand their tasting room experience into a full-fledged restaurant.

“In our old space, we kept hearing from our good regulars and community that they wanted to stay here all night but had to go out for dinner or leave the store for lunch,” said Nickolas Gil, Bitter Pops’ co-founder and director of marketing. “So we took that advice and incorporated some food into our new building here.”

The taproom features a full-fledged menu designed by chef Kevin McCormick, who previously worked in kitchens at Balena, a pasta restaurant in Lincoln Park; Bar Takito in the West Loop; and Swift & Sons Tavern in Wrigleyville.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Half of the Bitter Pops storefront is dedicated to its retail selection of craft beers, wine and spirits.

McCormick described the menu as “playful taproom food.”

It features items such as “the Spice Bag,” inspired by a dish from Dublin that includes fries and fried chicken mixed with peppers, onions and five-spice seasoning. Other popular items include the store’s burger, pickled buffalo cauliflower and a chicken sandwich.

“The main focus of the menu was something you can enjoy a beer with or whatever else you’re drinking,” McCormick said.

For drinks, the store and taproom offers a selection of craft beer, wines, spirits, coffee and kombucha. The store features 18 draft beer lines, with an additional two draft lines reserved for nitro and distilled coffee, Gil said.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
The new Bitter Pops location features a large patio running along Roscoe Street.

Bitter Pop’s new location also features a lounge area in the back, which people can reserve for events and small parties, as well as an outdoor patio running along Roscoe Street.

“We’re really just trying to give our guests the experience they want, so there’s a lot of options and opportunity for them to decide where they want to take their experience here,” Gil said.

Bitter Pops retail storefront is open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. The taproom’s kitchen is open 2:30-9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Bitter Pops features a coffee bar where people can order craft coffee from local roasters.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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