Now Open: Hunter Meets Hipster at Sportsman’s Club

By Sarah Freeman  |  December 20, 2013
Credit: Nick Murway

This is a drinking den for the urban hunter/gatherer/hipster. Located in Humboldt Park, the latest cocktail concept from Heisler Hospitality (Trenchermen, Lone Wolf, Revel Room) encourages locals to don their thickest flannel and cozy up in one of the booths - with chess and checker boards built into the tables - for a cocktail or glass of on-tap amaro. This is the Sportsman’s Club.

The bar, which opens today, gets its name from the location's original bar, which acted as a hangout for Polish immigrants. The new tavern takes cues from old design elements; inspired by a French hunting museum coupled with a Chicago tavern sensibility, the 35-seat space is like a deer head-adorned woodland lodge with a cozy fire-lit backyard.

This lodge-like space opens just in time for winter's snow dump. Get comfortable with a game of checkers and cocktail (there is no set menu, just a daily rotation of four house cocktails) for a night in this winter wonderland.

948 North Western Ave.; 872-206-805

  • Credit: Nick Murway


    The proprietors of this joint are two men who know their way around a bar - Jeff Donahue (Aviary, Barrelhouse Flat, Graham Elliot) and Wade McElroy (Trenchermen, Barrelhouse Flat, New York's The Dutch). Together, they create a menu of four cocktails as well as a signature Sportsman’s cocktail that change daily. Cocktails are limited to three main ingredients, such as the one in the photo above, made with rum, port and egg white and served in the fowl-adorned glassware.

  • Credit: Nick Murway


    Oh yeah, they have an amaro machine. The contraption, which was tested out at a recent pop-up at Trenchermen, is modeled after the Jägermeister machines that serve ice-cold shots from inverted bottles. The machine fits two bottles. These bottles are pre-batched amaro blends, along the lines of Averna, Fernet Branca, Cocchi Rosa and Angostura. The amari are served in small or large pours for $4 or $6.

  • Credit: Nick Murway


    In addition to the bitter booze, the bar will offer eight beers and cider on draft, such as Old Style, Lagunitas IPA and Virtue Cider Percheron. In addition to the beer list, Donahue - who has a sommelier background - put together a brief “terroir-driven” wine list with several funky varietals. Many of these wines, as well as bottled beers, are available to purchase to-go. Sportsman’s Club encourages bringing them to one of the nearby BYO spots, like Kai Zan or Bite Café, since the bar does not serve food.