It’s the end of an era: The Northman, Chicago’s first cider-focused bar, and a hugely influential place in the craft cider scene in the US, is closing. In an announcement via Instagram, the decision was explained:
While it sounds like the new ownership of the building will carry on with a cider-centric program, we’re sad to see this beloved institution close its doors. The Northman’s management team of Ambrosia Borowski, Brian Rutzen and Jonathan Putman are responsible for introducing many a cider fan to new producers, innovative and forgotten classic styles and just weird and wonderful beverages. The comments on the social media announcement posts are full of both regular and one-time guests bemoaning this news. One silver lining: It appears as if The Northman’s Riverwalk location, an outdoor cider and beer garden, will re-open for the 2020 season.
The restaurant industry is a brutal one, and we’ve seen a number of cider-focused bars come and go. Bushwhacker (Portland, OR and Brooklyn, NY), Cider Riot! (Portland, OR), Wassail (NYC) and Cinder Copper & Lace (Philadelphia) are some of the cider bars that have folded in the past few years. While it seems as if The Northman team’s decision was driven by a desire to focus on its own cider making endeavor (The Northman Cider Co.), it still is understandably frustrating to cider lovers that the bars they love don’t often seem to stay open for long. One thing is for sure: Its exemplary beverage program, convivial service and overall point of view will be sorely missed. Sunday, February 23 is its last day open, so if you’re a fan, you have just a few days to get there and raise a pint to The Northman before it closes.
The Northman is located at 4337 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago, IL; phone: (773) 935-2255.
- Feature photo: The Northman