This week, Laura and Sara are joined by Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan, founders of Root Collective and owners of The SoFo Tap at 4923 N. Clark St, as well as the newly opened Meeting House Tavern, located at 5025 N. Clark St. Both establishments offer a relaxed atmosphere, comfortable decor, and an array of events and nightlife designed to appeal to various demographics of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We are part of Andersonville and one of the beautiful things about Andersonville is diversity. SoFo Tap really exemplifies that diversity”
– Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan
Listen to Episode 28 with Mark and Mike!
Here are some references from Episode 28 that you may want to check out:
- Mike grew up on the East coast but has lived in Chicago for 25 years. Mark grew up in western Illinois but moved to Chicago 23 years ago to attend DePaul. Mike was initially an attorney and Mark was used to be an accountant for the bar and restaurant industry.
- The two acquired The SoFo Tap in 2011. SoFo gets its name for ‘South of Foster’. Mark says that when they moved in that year, it would have been weird to see people walking down the street, and the neighborhood South of Foster has changed so much since then. It was when they launched their Bear Night that they really saw an influx in people coming to the south end of Andersonville. Bear Night is hosted at SoFo every Sunday. View this week’s event here.
- In reference to South Andersonville changes, Mike mentions the popularity of their neighbors including Chicago Magic Lounge (5050 N. Clark), Bar Roma (5101 N. Clark), the new Graham Cracker Comics (5028 N. Clark), and Full Kit Gear (5021 N. Clark) nearby. Sara also references past interviews on our podcast including Episode 20 with Joey Cranford of Chicago Magic Lounge and Episode 24 with Todd Mack of Foursided, both South of Foster businesses.
- The SoFo Tap is the quintessential Chicago neighborhood bar, according to Mark. It’s a relatively small space, but the property boasts a large backyard beer garden that is very popular in the warm months. Mark says you can expect an open-minded, laid-back environment if you come to SoFo.
- SoFo is dog friendly and hosts Doggy Days every Saturday from 12-3PM. Generally, dogs are always welcome at SoFo if it’s not too busy. Check out this week’s upcoming Share the Love Doggy Days event!
- SoFo Tap runs a featured artist program which allows artists to showcase their work on the walls of the establishment. The featured artists rotate every few months. Mike and Mark wanted to give local artists a space to present their work to local families. The bar is currently featuring the neighborhood artwork of Brad Fellows.
- Meeting House Tavern’s name came from years of talking to customers at SoFo and the former Crew Bar and Grill. People in the neighborhood wanted a “town center” type of place. Meeting House acts as a place to come and hang out with your friends, grab a drink and play board and card games, shuffleboard, skeeball, darts, and pool.
“I did not realize so many people had this untapped passion to play skeeball.”
– Mike Sullivan
- Customers are big fans of the signature margarita and the slushies!
- Mike and Mark have teamed up with the staff at Cards Against Humanity. Every Thursday, the staff brings over new, never seen before cards that are still under development. So in some regards, Meeting House Tavern is like an experiential playground!
- The pair are looking for a new location for their LGBTQ+ sports bar, Crew Bar and Grill. Mark has a passion for sports, and they are looking for the perfect location to continue the legacy that it began 13 years ago.
- Every other Tuesday, Meeting House Tavern hosts a drag-in movie night. A drag queen hosts and brings her own style and trivia and games to the bar. They also feature karaoke every Thursday with Bradley K8 Olsen, who also happens to manage our neighborhood AKIRA (5228 N Clark)! Check out this week’s upcoming karaoke night here.
- Mike would switch places with George’s Ice Cream & Sweets (5306 N. Clark) for the day. Mark would choose to switch places with Chicago Magic Lounge.
Meeting House Tavern is one of the businesses sponsoring the upcoming South Andersonville Post-Construction block party on Thursday, October 4! Check out the details here.
Visit The SoFo Tap and Meeting House Tavern on the following platforms:
Online: thesofotap.com | meetinghousetavern.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TheSoFoTap | facebook.com/MeetingHouseChi
Instagram: @thesofotap | @meetinghousetavernchi
Twitter: @sofotap | @meetinghousechi