Comfortably tucked inside the single-family homes and rentals of the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago, Farm Bar opened its doors on November 16 as a sister location to the established Farmhouse restaurants in River North and Evanston. Owners TJ Callahan and Ferdia Doherty, along with Executive Chef Eric Mansavage, have invented this cozy, modernized country concept that is a perfect match for neighbors who are seeking Midwest charm, a specialized menu, and rustic atmosphere. The bar-focused menu includes snacky appetizers, savory sandwiches and burgers, craft cocktails, draft wine, and house-made cider.
Located at 1300 W. Wellington, this particular location has been a steady stream of bar-themed reincarnations over the past century, most recently being Wellington’s Tavern and,before that, J&R Tap. We checked out Farm Bar to experience the newest version. Here are three things we loved:
Farmhouse Architect and Designer Pam Grossman Guerin put her intricate touches into Farm Bar with reclaimed pieces that give off a beautiful country, cozy vibe. The back bar and clock original to the space were disassembled, moved, and rebuilt to function as the main focal point of the restaurant. The black walnut bar was sourced from the Callahan’s Brown Dog Farm in Wisconsin, and old local brewery crates were meticulously sourced to display within the barroom. From the rooster stamped coasters to the wooden serving planks branded with animal images, each detail adds to the overall comfort without the kitchy-ness you might expect at Cracker Barrel.
Refreshing, crispand slightly dry with the perfect amount of sour, the homemade ciders are a welcomed addition to menu. Brown Dog Farm has planted young cider apple trees, beehives, black currant and black walnut trees to produce ingredients for future cider batches. While the trees mature into fruition over the next few years, Farm Bar owners have worked closely withneighboring Cider Farms to create the four in-house cider blends. “They’ve been growing organic heirloom and antique cider apples for ten years now,” General Manager Sean Yantz explained. After the juice is sourced from the farm, it’s brought to Fox Valley Vineyards in Oswego, IL for fermentation and kegged and carbonated at Blue Nose Brewery in Hodgkins. It’s apparent in every sip just how much care and effort has gone into these exclusive blends.
3. Local Ties
Working hand in hand with Chicago vendors like Local Foods and Green City Market, Farm Bar has a dedicated responsibility to using locally sourced food for its farm-to-table menu items. “You’ve got to know who’s producing your product and stand behind it,” Yantz said. “It helps both of us out. We help out the farms and breweries, and [sourcing locally] helps our business at the same time.” The burgers feature 100% pasture-raised, grass-fed beef burgers from Hoosier Farms in Indiana. What they can’t get local on the booze side is supplemented with the wares of craft distilleries or other niche spirits. The relationships they’ve garnered with the food and beer vendors at Farmhouse translate into an ongoing relationship with Farm Bar. Additionally, custom furniture designer NeighborWood in Evanston had repurposed old wood from the city to create the tables, chairs, and burger plates. New guests and neighbors of the bar/restaurant have nothing but good things to say. “It’s nice knowing that people are really appreciating that we came into the neighborhood and made it comfortable as possible,” Yantz told us. “We take a lot of pride in actually having that neighborhood feel to this place.”