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The Northman Will Have More than 100 Kinds of Hard Cider

The city’s first cider-focused spot, from the people behind Fountainhead and Bar on Buena, opens in North Center next month.

Potato pie at the Northman
Potato pie at the Northman   Photo: Courtesy of the Northman

If your New Year’s resolution has anything to do with an-apple-a-day, you’re in luck because the taps begins flowing next month at the Northman (4337 N. Lincoln Ave., North Center), the city’s first bistro-pub dedicated to cider (the hard kind) and the foods it’s best consumed with.

Ownership includes the crews behind Fountainhead and The Bar on Buena, and they’ve tapped local cider fanatic/expert Brian Rutzen—a.k.a. “Cider Brian” (really)—to curate a roster of 100-plus options served on draft, or from a firkin, can, or bottle. Collaborative brews concocted at nearby cideries—including Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns, Michigan—are on the horizon; in the meantime, expect picks hailing mostly from England and France, natch, alongside selections from as far afield as New Zealand. (There will also be a smattering of beers, wines, and spirits available, if you must.)

The food menu is compliments of seasoned chef Cleetus Friedman (Fountainhead), and follows the ciders’ lead with English- and French-leaning bistro fare for lunch and dinner. It will come as no surprise to Friedman-followers that dishes incorporate regional, seasonal influences. In addition to an extensive, cider-complementing cheese program, look for flavors such as slow-cooked local rabbit and prosciutto roulade served over corn grits.

As for the interior, managing partner Aaron Zacharias said his team reverted the space—best known for housing burger-centric Jury’s for 17 years—to its “original grandeur,” peeling away roughly 70 years’ worth of carpeting and tile to unveil the original maple flooring, and accentuating existing tin ceilings with old-school, belt-driven fans. Zacharias promises laid-back environs that “you don’t have to be a cider geek to enjoy.” New year, new cider-sipping hobby?

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