"I’m not gonna give you a bite," says Pat, one of the two sisters who owns the Nil Tap as she catches you eyeing her container of takeout. With a wink, she continues "But I'll tell you where to get some."
The bawdy, playful, and overall friendly humor is appreciated by the crowd of middle-aged men lining the bar. Their laughter does a lot to fill the space on a quiet mid-afternoon. As a weekend night approaches, this sleepy neighborhood bar slowly transforms into a tavern with more of a party vibe. The 20-somethings enter, group by group, and some join the old timers for a drink or three or four.
"This is a family place," says Lin, holding up a large glass fishbowl full of gum and lollipops. "We keep this around for the kids."
Sisters Lin and Pat own and operate the Nil Tap (Lin, Pat. Nil Tap – see what they did there?) in a way that almost makes you feel like they're dropping by their aunt's Jefferson Park backyard for a bit of family partying and a good deal of friendly boozing. The Nil Tap is cash only and sporty (definitely a Cubs bar), and when the weather is nice, the action spills out into the outdoor patio. Continuing in the bar's tradition of keeping things casual, the patio is resplendently furnished with folding lawn chairs. Don't be quick to judge. It turns out that these chairs are extremely easy to move once the bar-owned bean bag toss comes out and takes a place on the sidewalk.
This particular family party, though, does like to provide more in the way of entertainment besides fights over politics with your relatives. The Nil Tap hosts a musical act now and then. It's recommended you call for details, but in the past the bar has played host to reggae bands and Elvis impersonators.
Drinks stay on the cheap side. Catch a special on Wednesday nights when Miller Lite and Bud Light pints are just $1. If you ask nicely, you can also have a lollipop.
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman