Tapster opens and a dream becomes reality in Wicker Park


With the brown paper taken out of the windows, Roman Maliszewski is on the phone at the concierge desk

"This is a dream of mine that I've been having for many years and it's finally here and it's really happening," said Roman Maliszewski, with a mix of excitement and disbelief Thursday night, as he and his crew were putting the last minute touches on Tapster, 2027 W. North Ave., Wicker Park. It opens at 7 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 3. 


Taps along the east wall on the first of three levels

Maliszewski [pronounced mollychefski] and his partner Sean Slevin searched throughout the City for more than a year to find this location. "Sandwiched" in between The Robey and the Chop Shop, they feel that it is the perfect location for locals and visitors of all ages. 


Second level has another wall of taps

A deli is in the rear beyond the walls of taps for 32 beers, 8 wines, 4 sodas and 4 kombucha teas as well as cold brew and nitro coffees and the first in the world 12 cocktail taps. "The cocktails range from old fashions to margaritas," explained Maliszewski. "Our sodas are from 164 Brewing in St. Charles, which is owned by two young kids. I love their sodas." 

He also loves wine and says they range from prosecco to cabernet. The beers are are sourced locally and internationally in a mix from light to dark. 


Maliszewski and a staff person review ordering at the second level bar

In honor of St. Patrick's day, the deli area, brightened with a skylight, will be offering corned beef sliders in addition to other sandwiches as well as cheese and meat plates. Two chocolate and two cheese fondues are on the menu too as well as gelato and cannoli for dessert. 

They are going to ease into hours with Mon. thru Thurs. 4 p.m to midnight , Fri. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sun. from 11 a.m. to midnight. 

With an interest in sourcing their food locally when possible, Maliszewski and Selvin are also interested in the customer experience. They designed the space to be comfortable. "We want people to be able to talk with each other so our background music is in the background," says Selvin. Two handcrafted leather-seated swings speak to Maliszewski's interest in customers having fun too. 


The third accessible level includes seating and the deli

Unique in how sales are made, Tapster [a pre-12th century word for bartender] has a concierge by the front door who takes cash and gives the customer a "tap card*" or links the card to a credit card (like having an open tab). Additional cash may also be added to the card. 

The customer uses the card at the taps, pouring as little or as much of a specific beverage into a glass. There is a 32-ounce maximum for alcoholic beverages, depending on the alcoholic content. The concept of pour-your-own gives customers the opportunity to try different beverages, pouring as little as an ounce at a time. "We think that this gives people a chance to be adventuresome. They can try something they might not do if they have to have a full glass," said Slevin.

The partners are interested in having customers tell them what they like or would like to see on tap, in their 70 seat establishment.

Future plans include occasional music, expanded hours and salads.

*The tap card is required for all liquor sales because a person must check the purchaser regarding age and sobriety before allowing the pour.



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