Located at the corner of Southport and Belmont in Lakeview, Schubas Tavern is nothing short of a Chicago institution as both a bar and a live music venue. After changing hands a few years ago, the 1903 brick structure’s new owners made the decision to redevelop the adjacent sibling building known as the Harmony Grill and a narrow parking lot. Designing a new building right next to a neo-gothic landmark can be a tricky affair. Lucky for the Schubas’ owners, the architects at Gensler Chicago were up to the task.
Known as ‘Tied House,’ the name of the new two-story development started off as a working title but eventually stuck, project architect Lee Greenberg tells us. It referred to an old practice in which large breweries would buy out neighborhood taverns and “tie” the establishments exclusively to their beer. In the case of Schubas, the structure's historical connection was to Schlitz, as clearly illustrated in its exterior ornamentation. The name also references how the new construction is an independent establishment but also tied to Schubas via a side door.
The team at Gensler set out to design something that was dramatic but wouldn’t compete with the old building or look out of place. Inspiration came from the original tavern structure. “The brickwork on the face of the building is a faux German renaissance style that drew its inspiration from the old world beerhalls,” explained Greenberg. “We ended up reusing the ‘X’ pattern of the existing brickwork as a screen with glass curtain wall behind.”
While Gensler’s choice to use brick in this manner is a subtle reminder of the materials and craftsmanship of the Schubas building, the design will take on a whole new dimension at night as the pattern stands out against the restaurant’s internal glow.
The concept of traditional materials used in a new way will also be reflected in the restaurant’s interior which will rely heavily on wood, stone, and metal. While the client isn’t quite ready to share interior renderings just yet, Greenberg describes the design as “clean and beautiful, but not super finicky or distracting.”
The Tied House hopes to supplement Schubas reputation as a nighttime hangout and provide more of an all-day destination for the neighborhood. According to Eater Chicago, the upcoming restaurant will offer “local, midwestern ingredients” and, unsurprisingly, an extensive beer list. With the old Harmony building demolished, the Tied House project should begin construction soon at 3157 N. Southport Avenue.
- Schubas To Close Harmony Grill Restaurant After 19 Years For Reconcept [Eater Chicago]
- Previous Lakeview coverage [Curbed Chicago]