5 new businesses to check out in Wicker Park

Photo: The Beach House Social/Yelp

Want to explore the freshest new spots in Wicker Park? From a barbershop to a pizza joint, read on for the newest businesses to open their doors in this Chicago neighborhood.

The Beach House Social

1501 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Photo: the beach house social/Yelp

The Beach House Social is a cocktail bar and Hawaiian spot that dubs itself "part surf club, part beach bar and totally laid back," per its website. Formerly known as Mahalo, the rebranded bar and restaurant at 1501 N. Milwaukee Ave. comes courtesy of the team behind Hampton Social.

Bites and libations are on offer at this joint that looks to bring a West Coast vibe to the streets of Chicago. Look for menu options such as So-Cal chicken wings, double-decker cheeseburgers, quesadillas and tacos.

Pair your fare with a Corona, Pacifico or Landshark or go for a signature cocktail like the vodka-centric Hawaiian Fizz with cucumber, peach and lime; the mezcal-based Beach Vibes with kiwi and lemon; or a classic rummy Mai Tai with curacao and lime.

Yelpers are still warming up to The Beach House Social, which currently holds 3.5 stars out of 47 reviews.

Alex C., who reviewed the business on Sept. 9, wrote, "The vibe is really cool. It's a West Coast beach-themed place with white wood everywhere, some surfing decor, a nice looking rooftop bar, upstairs lounge area and a chill, live acoustic guitarist on a Saturday afternoon."

Yelper Kelly S. wrote, "Loved the atmosphere, the vibe, the drinks and the staff. Our server was fantastic, she even got us the deal through Yelp for complimentary chips and salsa, which was delicious."

The Beach House Social is open from 11-1 a.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11-2 a.m. on Friday, 10-3 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-midnight on Sunday.

Grooming Lounge Chicago

1258 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Photo: nick h./Yelp

Grooming Lounge Chicago is a modern barbershop that says it wants clients to "experience the world-class art of grooming and services in a therapeutic club atmosphere," per its website.

Services include haircuts, urban shaves, chest trims, detox facials and more. Combination services include The Highball, which features a buzz cut and shampoo, and The Hot Toddy, a shampoo, haircut and exfoliation. See the full list of services on the Grooming Lounge's website.

Grooming Lounge Chicago currently holds five stars out of 21 reviews on Yelp, indicating good reviews.

Yelper Todd G., who reviewed the shop on July 7, wrote, "Love this place! I had never gone to the same stylist more than once until I met Corey. He did a great job the first time and has kept the streak alive."

Yelper Jake R. wrote, "I came here months after a terrible experience with another barber in the area. Everyone here is friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about providing a great haircut."

Grooming Lounge Chicago is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.)

The Garment Creative

2124 W. Division St.
Photo: The Garment Creative/Yelp

The Garment Creative is a spot to design your own clothing while sipping a glass of wine. Attendees get to work with a trained garment maker to design a custom piece on an iPad.

First conceptualize and refine a design then experiment with different cuts and fabric. The final piece can be made to order for a fee. No experience necessary. See the full list of public events available for booking here.

The Garment Creative's current rating of five stars out of three reviews on Yelp indicates positive feedback from clientele.

Yelper Alex K., who reviewed the business on June 6, wrote, "Wife went here to do an event with her friends, came back very happy, said it was fun. Dress she designed came a couple weeks later and looked great."

Rita G. noted, "I attended an event a few weeks ago and had a blast. It's a great activity to do with friends while sipping wine and designing clothes. We spent some time learning about how the clothes are made and what goes into designing a garment. The fashion designer was really knowledgeable and helpful!"

The Garment Creative is open from noon-10 p.m. on Wednesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)


1566 N. Damen Ave.
Photo: mark d./Yelp

Founded by Roman baker Gabriele Bonci, who brought his authentic Italian style of pizza to the United States in 2017, Bonci now has two locations in the Chicago area, the newest featuring a dine-in option.

Americans looking for simple pepperoni won't find it here. Instead, expect menu options such as pumpkin, sausage and provolone; arugula and ham; and a meat trio. Pizzas change daily, which means the menu does, too. Slices are dished out by weight, allowing diners to build their own samplers of different squares.

With a four-star rating out of 58 reviews on Yelp, Bonci is off to a strong start.

Yelper Esteban B., who reviewed the pizzeria on Aug. 8, wrote, "It's Bonci. America has yet to learn what good Roman style is all about. Me, I've been to both of them and glad to see they have a foot in the door. It's about time Italy roared with some decent home-grown fare."

Jeannie L. noted, "There's plenty of craft pizza places to choose from in this area, so it's nice to see a different twist on pizza. I do like how you can get a sample of different kinds and not commit to just one whole personal-size pizza like most places."

Bonci is open from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday.


2101 W. North Ave.
Photo: knead/Yelp

Knead is an Italian spot, offering pizza and gelato from owner Mike Waicekauskas, who says he aims to serve up "great genuine food that you can eat every day, with the highest quality ingredients," according to Eater Chicago. The modern space includes a large kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows and an intimate dining room.

This joint features Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas like the classic Margherita; the Watch the Cows Kiss with shallots, mushrooms and a three-cheese blend; and the Tony Bologna with sopressata, ham, arugula, sausage and pepperoni. The menu also includes pasta and three salads: house, Caesar and beet arugula.

Yelpers are excited about Knead, which currently holds 4.5 stars out of 58 reviews.

Sarah V. wrote, "After driving by Knead for weeks, we finally decided to give it a try. They have a lovely outdoor seating area, an attentive staff and a decent wine selection."

Ross H. added, "We started with the bruschetta and ordered a pizza with sausage, red onion and red pepper. The bruschetta was delicious. Pizza was also one of the best I've had! Plenty of toppings. The crust has a nice crisp. Vegetables were chopped and cooked through. We will be back!

Knead is open from 5-10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 5-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 5-9 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)
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