Made In Chicago: Beer On The Wall

Rob Hart
December 09, 2019 - 3:24 pm
Beer On The Wall

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

PARK RIDGE (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- While Metra trains roar outside, beer taps bubble and buzz on the inside.

Beer on the Wall in Park Ridge recently marked its third anniversary in the Uptown area of Park Ridge.

It opened on Main Street on November 25, 2016, filling a previously unoccupied storefront.

Ryan Tracy is the owner, founder, and manager of Beer on the Wall. He said he got into beer because he grew bored with his office job.

"I was starting to spend more time reading about beer on a Kindle App on my computer that looked like it was technical instead of actually doing real work,” he recalled. “I fell a little too far down the rabbit hole and decided to write a business plan and see if I can open up a liquor store that focused on craft beer but also allowed people to sample beer on site.”

Beer on the Wall sells bottles and cans of craft beer. Most of the selections are from local breweries.

"About 60 percent of our store is local.  We always say local is anything you can get to via a Metra train station," Tracy said.

Tracy is a fan of the so-called "Third Space" concept.  With a selection of board games, Beer on the Wall can be a place to relax. People who want to get work done can take advantage of the free WiFi.

Park Ridge was a dry town through 1980, and longtime residents told Tracy they were impressed that the town had a craft beer store.

Tracy said he had to prove to city officials that Beer on the Wall was not going to be a dive bar.  He said it was meant to be a place where people could buy and sample craft beer, and he added that customers have embraced his vision.

"I wanted to teach people about beer and how it's interesting and different.  It's not all this fizzy yellow liquid. It can be dark. It can be sour. It can be dry. It can be sweet," Tracy said.

As young families move out of Chicago to put down roots in the suburbs, they will seek out businesses they enjoyed in the city, Tracy said. Beer on the Wall fills that need, he said.

"I was trying to get that city vibe with cool tap rooms and bottle shops," Tracy said.