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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Former Nick’s On Wilson Bar To Become LGBTQ-Friendly 2 Bears Tavern From Owners Of Popular North Side Bars

2 Bears Tavern will inhabit the former space of Nick's On Wilson, a popular late-night spot that closed during the pandemic.

The former Nick's On Wilson place will become 2 Bears Tavern Uptown this fall.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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UPTOWN — The owners of several popular late night spots on the Far North Side will take over the home of a legendary Uptown hangout, bringing a new LGBTQ bar to the neighborhood this fall.

The former Nick’s On Wilson spot at 1140 W. Wilson Ave. will become home to 2 Bears Tavern Uptown, owners Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan announced this week. The move will bring a new neighborhood bar to a Wilson Avenue storefront that housed Nick’s for three years before its pandemic-caused closure.

The new bar will be an LGBTQ-focused, dog-friendly tavern that will have an approachable and friendly atmosphere. In carrying on the Nick’s tradition, 2 Bears Tavern will have a late night tavern license.

Robertson and Sullivan’s 2Bears Tavern Group own SoFo Tap and Meeting House Tavern in Andersonville and Jackhammer in Rogers Park. Robertson co-owned pioneering gay sports bar Crew in Uptown, which closed in 2017.

The bar group is returning to Uptown with 2 Bears Tavern because of the changes coming to Broadway and Wilson Avenue, where two apartment complexes currently under construction will bring hundreds of new apartments to the immediate area.

“This area is booming,” Robertson said in a statement. “With a first-rate CTA station, Truman College, and more than 1,000 residential units coming to the area in the next 18–24 months, it is a great place for a neighborhood LGBTQIA+ tavern.”

Credit: Courtesy 2 Bears Tavern Group
Renderings of 2 Bears Tavern Uptown.

The new 2 Bears Tavern will inhabit the storefront that housed the final incarnation of Nick’s On Wilson.

The first Nick’s opened on the corner of Halsted Street and Armitage Avenue in 1977, DNAinfo wrote in 2017. Nick’s Uptown opened in 2000 at 4105 N. Sheridan Road, and the chain also included Nick’s Beer Garden in Wicker Park and Nick’s on Wilson.

Nick’s on Wilson first closed in 2011 and Nick’s Uptown closed in 2013. In spring 2017, the owner reopened Nick’s On Wilson, reviving the late-night bar. Nick’s on Wilson closed permanently in June 2020 after shutting down due to the pandemic.

The interior of the former Nick’s is being redesigned by the firm d+K in a “modern interpretation of a Jazz era tavern,” including tin ceilings and copper finishes, according to the owners. 2 Bears Tavern will have seven TVs, pinball machines, dart boards and eight rotating drafts.

The owners are shooting for an opening in the fall.

Credit: Courtesy 2 Bears Tavern Group
Renderings of the 2 Bears Tavern Uptown.

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