City Tap aims to be Norridge’s neighborhood pub
Bears fans point to one of many TV's as they watch the Bears play the Minnesota Vikings at City Tap and Grill in Norridge Nov. 25. | Michael Jarecki~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:22AM
NORRIDGE — A gathering place for the neighborhood is what John Tate wanted to bring to Norridge.
“I wanted to open a neighborhood pub,” he said. “A meeting place where the focus was on food.
“A nice mix,” he continued “A place for everyone to come and feel welcomed.”
Tate’s inspiration for City Tap was to create a place where he would like to spend his time. And he does. As an owner, Tate believes strongly that one must be hands-on.
He spent 18 years in the hospitality business before opening City Tap and Grill, 7320 W. Irving Park Road. In college, he worked at nightclubs and bars. After college, Tate worked in marketing for four years for corporations such as Al a Carte, the former owners of Bar Louie and the House of Blues.
“I did everything, including live music venues,” Tate said. “But I’ve learned more in the last year than in the past five years managing 18 establishments.”
Tate brings to City Tap and Grill his passion for good food and good libations.
“We have a good assortment of beer,” he said.
But when it comes down to it, people may come in for the drinks, but they come back for the food, Tate noted.
“A bottle of beer is a bottle of beer no matter where the location,” he said. “But to have consistently good food. That’s what brings them back.”
City Tap has a banquet room that can serve up to 80 people. So far, City Tap has served as the destination for many a birthday party as well as family and business celebrations.
“This is a place for the entire neighborhood,” Tate said. “We’re family-friendly.
For example, kids eat free from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturdays.
“We have different specials on beer and food,” Tate said. “And we don’t nickel-and-dime you on the extras.”
Buying the Irving Park Road location pretty much was based on instinct.
“I knew of the area,” Tate said. “I probably looked at 20 places.
“But when I walked in here, I just knew this was the place.”
Tate believes he has the formula to succeed, and it includes having a great staff.
“You need to consistently provide a great product, a great service and a great atmosphere,” he said.