1516 N. Milwaukee Ave. (1500N, 2000W)
Chicago, IL 60622
Nick's Beergarden is well known for its eclectic outdoor patio and 4am liquor license, but less so for its storied past. Nick's originally opened in 1977, replacing a small bar and package liquor store that also served as a heroin shooting gallery, at Halsted & Armitage where the Marquee Lounge is found today. Back then, Lincoln Park was seedy and it was Nick's that became one of the first neighborhood taverns catering to a younger crowd, including Caroline Kennedy, Artis Gilmore of the Bulls and Ivan Dejesus of the Cubs. The décor was quasi-tropical with plastic pineapples, a stuffed sailfish and a vintage surfboard. A large oil painting of a voluptuous nude that some called "Our Lady of Halsted St." but officially known as "Peaches" hung above the bar. In 1978, a man shot at Peaches four times with a .45, leaving three bullet holes in the painting and one in the frame. Fortunately, Peaches herself was spared injury. Nick's and its eccentric ornamentation moved to its present locale in Wicker Park in 1994 that once was the original location of the dear-departed Artful Dodger and punk nightclub, Club Dreamerz. Nick's also features a pool table, its namesake beer garden (under the Blue Line L), and R&B bands play every Friday (9pm) and Saturday (10pm) until the late-night crowd starts rolling in after midnight. As with the original, Nick's is owned by former schoolteacher, Nick Novich, who also runs Flat Iron across the street (once The Note), Nick's Uptown and Nick's on Wilson.
Full review coming soon...