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Openings Sat Jul 14 2012
It was on the weekend of Chicago's 2012 heat wave and subsequent late night power outage (conveniently on a Friday) -- having just been booted from Revolution Brewery and The Whistler in Logan Square as a result, and finding that almost every other bar in Wicker Park was also out of power -- that I found myself walking into Trenchermen, the newest kid to the Wicker Park growing culinary scene.
Trenchermen (2039 W. North Ave), now taking up residence in the former Spring space, is the project of Michael and Patrick Sheerin, two brothers with a long resume of culinary achievements (Blackbird, Everest, and Signature Room to name a few) as well as hospitality heavyweights Kevin Heisner and Matt Eisler (Bar DeVille, Nightwood Restaurant, Bangers & Lace, and The Anthem). The design concept is part old industrial meets chemistry lab meets a Vermont cabin if I may - bartenders, dressed in the style of Paul Bunyan if Paul Bunyan were an old village carpenter mix drinks in beakers, while moss grows on the wall. The rectangle bar seems like a great new place to do Wicker Park people watching - you know, to compare if the Wicker Park hipsters rival the Logan Square ones and is a welcomed arrival to the "interesting collection" of bars in the Milwaukee, North and Damen six corners. The seasonally driven menu, purposefully limited, boosts items such as Scotched Quail Eggs, Beet Burrata and Smoked Sturgeon. It's been labeled as progressive American Contemporary . . . does that translate to affordable fine dining?
The kitchen was closed so we went in for drinks, I, The Bridge and Tunnel, an interesting mix of carbonated lemon-peel vodka, white zin and celery bitters, my friend the Sunner Kolsch, a German summer ale. My drink was surprisingly good, albeit risky. Judging what beverage director Tona Palomino is doing with things such as The Green Hornet (a spin on the classic gin and tonic), the Baby Mama (which includes damiana, a Mexican liquor, and yuzu, an Asian citrus fruit) and the Desperate Vesper, which includes--wait for it--Marlot, there might just be a Violet Hour throw down coming up in the future. (Lesson: Marlot always wins). Trenchermen just officially opened earlier this week. We'll have to see if the successful chemistry experiment applies to the food as well.