2Bears Tavern grows with Uptown, celebrates first year

Thu. March 9, 2023 9:34 AM by Ross Forman

2bears tavern uptown

photo credit // provided

'It’s been a great first year and we could not be more excited for this coming year,' says co-owner Mike Sullivan

They’re ready to celebrate on Friday, March 10, starting at 3 p.m., as 2Bears Tavern Uptown (1140 W. Wilson) is turning 1.

There will be drink specials and, of course, a cake.

The Happy Hour Specials run from 3-6 p.m., which include $4 New Amsterdam Cocktails and $5 Chicago Handshakes.

Other specials Friday include $3 house shots, $7.50 BIG Miller Lite Drafts, and more.

“It’s incredible to be celebrating our 1-year anniversary, considering this was our newest endeavor in the ‘immediately-after-still-during’ COVID era,” said co-owner Mark Robertson. “It’s been an overly positive experience to have our first 2Bears Tavern Group-branded location welcomed so much by our Uptown neighbors.”

Co-owner Mike Sullivan added, “It’s been a great first year and we could not be more excited for this coming year. They say making it through year one is the hardest, so we are happy to be starting year two.”

Robertson said what stood out most from year one was how much people seemed to have been longing for such a space. “We designed it to be different than our other bars, and different than other LGBTQIA+ bars, but our design was envisioned entirely with Uptown in mind, and fortunately it’s something that has appealed to people.”

Sullivan sang the praise of the four-legged visitors, too. “We love that we’re able to be dog-friendly, and at The Sofo Tap,” he said. “Our team has grown so much over the past year and in some fantastic ways. We’re proud to have such a diverse, talented and vibrant group working at all our bars.”

Sales in year one well exceeded their initial expectations,” Robertson said.

But construction was an issue, Sullivan noted. “Construction during the last few years hasn’t been a cake walk. It was a time-consuming, very difficult adventure getting all the pieces-and-parts together/ordered/built/installed, and it has definitely come with a handful of construction issues we’ve had to have address, and re-address, over the past year.”

The co-owners – a married couple away from the bar – said the top days from year one were opening night, Pride Sunday, Winter Walk on Wilson, “hopefully our anniversary party,” Sullivan added.

“We are excited to grow as the Uptown neighborhood does with several new apartment buildings opening,” Robertson said. “The new WeWork space at the Bridgeview Bank building is an amazing addition to Uptown in this new world of more remote work and flexibility, and we are looking forward to Double Door’s new location opening. We also are excited to be launching some new programming at this location, unique to 2Bears Tavern Uptown, and unlike anything we’re doing at our other locations.”

Sullivan added: “2Bears Tavern Uptown is a truly unique addition to Uptown. From the art on the walls and the stained-glass windows, both created by local, queer artists, to our Nintendo Switches, free darts, being dog-friendly and open late night, 2Bears Tavern Uptown stands apart in some beautiful ways while still operating under the main tenets of our brand that are important to us, like providing value and service while helping to support and uplift our Chicago LGBTQIA+ community.”

2Bears Tavern Group also owns The SoFo Tap, Meeting House Tavern and recently celebrated the much-anticipated reopening of Jackhammer on Jan. 26.