Fat Pour, a two-story bar and restaurant with over 50 beers on tap, four self-serve metered Table Taps, and 40+ flat-screen TVs, will open its doors to the public at 2005 W. Division Street in Wicker Park next Friday, September 7th at 10pm after hosting its private opening for friends and family.
In full disclosure, I work on Division Street and have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Fat Pour since late spring when a sign outside a vacant building on the corner of Division and Damen Avenue read “Fat Pour: Coming Summer 2012.” I suppose they weren’t lying as September 7th is still technically the summer, but my patience was certainly tested as I walked past a team of construction workers nearly every day and peeked inside to check on Fat Pour’s progress.
I walked into an unfinished Fat Pour last week (literally, as there was no door built yet) to meet with owner Erik Baylis and discuss the opening. The first impossible-not-to-notice feature of Fat Pour is its mammoth two-story glass encased, transparent keg cooler running through the center of the bar that will greets patrons as they enter. At my right was a long bar, nearly the length of the space, with the words “Fat Pour” in large black cursive letters across the bar’s back wall. To my left was black leather booth seating, and I noticed two tables had some type of plumbing being set up at the booths. I waited patiently as I could hear a new crew of bar staff being trained vigorously about the ins and outs of running a successful bar in a big city. I eventually looked up to see owner Erik Baylis greeting me at the “door.”
Erik is part of the Big Onion Group, a group of owners who own bars throughout the northside of Chicago including The Diag (formerly known as Jack’s), Derby, Irish Oak, Brunch, and now Fat Pour. All the bars under the Big Onion name have some of the same food items and specials and all offer a rewards card that lets you earn points that are as good as cash at any Big Onion bar.
“[Our staff] are upstairs training right now and we’ve been training for a couple weeks,” Erik said with confidence. “They’re going to be well trained and we’re going to hire them based on their personality. We’re going to have the best staff in the city, I guarantee that. That’s why people come to a bar.”
Along with a finely tuned staff, Fat Pour will have 50 beers on tap: 30 fixed, 10 seasonal, and 10 rotating. There will also be over 100 beers available in bottle or can. Fat Pour will even offer beer that can’t be drank anywhere else in the world. “We’ll have a few beers that are being brewed just for us. A few of the bigger companies are trying to just give us exclusive rights to a few of their beers that they brew,” Erik told me proudly.
In talking about how Fat Pour would be a Wisconsin Badger bar with Badger giveaways during college football games, Erik mentioned the Table Taps and I butted in to get the scoop on these modern bar marvels. “[The Table Taps] will be at two booths on the first floor and two booths upstairs. It has a meter on it so you pay for how many ounces you pour. [Customers] can call prior or come in if they want a specialty beer. Normally we’ll have a goose Island and a domestic on there,” Erik explained.
Fat Pour, I quickly learned, has something for everyone. Great food, created by renowned chef Mark Nieuwenhuis, a copious selection of ice-cold beer that can be poured right at your booth at your command, and even a dance floor for patrons young and old to let loose. “We felt a need in the area for a place that ties everything together,” Erik told me. “I think there’s great beer bars around here, there’s great dance bars, there’s great sports bars, and were kind of tying all of them together, along with our food which is amazing.”
Fat Pour will open its doors to the public at 10pm on September 7th after hosting its private opening for friends and family. The grand opening will be the following weekend. Wisconsin Badger fans are welcome to attend September 8th as Fat Pour will be giving away two tickets to the Badgers’ homecoming game and a flat-screen TV.
About the author: Joe Struck is a Lakeview resident and Graduate of Columbia College with a B.A. in Journalism. Works his day job at State Farm (on Division St.) and contributes to the Chicago Pipeline by night. Loves hearing new music and going to concerts at small venues. Most recently he checked out CrossFit on Division.