CLOSED: Empire LiquorsWicker Park | Website
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Located next to Double Door in the old Reservation Blues space, this Wicker Park spot exudes a hipster-cool, dive bar-chic attitude courtesy of Matt Eisler and crew, who carried on the "Liquors" name--Lincoln Park sports bar Victory Liquors is part of the family. Pick your poison: Empire serves everything from beer to champagne to create-your-own spiked Italian sodas. A laidback atmosphere gets amped up when DJs hit the booth in the far corner and the crowd moves to the beats in the back room. Dark walls and dim lighting, concrete bar top, wall-mounted antlers, metallic walls with stenciling, Gothic archways and a herringbone slate floor create a raw yet sleek and contemporary environment that speaks to the neighborhood's edgy personality. In the back, a corner nook lined with benches caters to more private parties, but tree stump tables create a more down-to-earth VIP vibe.