The Northman – Cider Pub & Bistro

I went to the Northman as an excited child would go to Disneyland. My taste buds think cider is amazing, so when a bar opened with dozens of ciders on the menu, I vowed to go and try everything. 

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Because I was on a date I could not very well indulge in one of everything, so I asked if they had tasting flights. Sadly, this hadn’t occurred to them (!?) until people like me began asking for them, so they said they might start offering some on Tuesday nights in the near future. For the time being, I had to order full glasses or a bottle.

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Given the overwhelming selection in the menu of local and imported, both on tap and in bottles, I opted for asking my waiter for a recommendation rather than choose arbitrarily.

After tasting their semi-dry house cider, which was quite nice, I asked for something sweeter, just because that’s what I was in the mood for. He recommended Left Foot Charley’s Cinnamon Girl from Michigan. It’s a semi-sweet apple cider with hints of cinnamon spice. Thinking of strudel I instantly said yes, and was delighted at the liquid dessert that arrived in a glass. 

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For my second taste I tried Cidrerie Daufresne Poire, a semi-sweet pear sparkling cider from France with “farm hints on the nose, but not the palate.” This description scared me a bit because my date’s choice of cider with “cheesy farm hints on the palate” tasted like black olives to me: apple on the tongue but pizza on the back of my throat. 

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Thankfully, my waiter was right, and the hints of my pear cider stayed on the nose and not on the palate, so as long as I didn’t breathe it in, it was sweet and bubbly in my mouth. It was a lot of fun tasting all the hints of different flavors in their varied ciders.

The decor feels warm and cozy, probably because of the heavy wooden furniture, rich red wallpaper, vintage prints in the walls, tin ceilings, and the mural over the bar.

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Adding to the farmhouse feel there were metal light fixtures, ceiling fans on a pulley, and wooden beams separating a private area.

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We didn’t stay for dinner but the menu looks amazing, and the food on the neighboring tables had enticing scents and attractive presentations. It is the sort of food you expect to eat in the French countryside, more farmhouse than bistro, so I will be making a second visit to try it out.

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I went on a Tuesday night. The place was empty at 6:30 pm but quickly filled up at about 7:00 pm and stayed at capacity for several hours, so I expect it might be incredibly crowded on weekends. This could be because it just opened and everyone is talking about it, but it’s so good I don’t expect it to die down anytime soon.

 

4337 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

 

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