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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Bitter Blossom hopes to revive Evanston nightlife scene through creative drinks

Photo Courtesy of Maeve Crecco
Community members gather at Bitter Blossom. The bar recently opened in Church Street Plaza.

Nestled in Evanston’s Church Street Plaza, a new establishment has blossomed. Bitter Blossom, a bar owned by the same proprietors as downtown spot Evanston Games and Cafe, invites the community to an intimate, moody space filled with life ― an atmosphere that general manager Lo McGrath described as “punk rock for fairies.”

Led by a team of four individuals, McGrath said the bar aims to redefine nightlife in Evanston.

“We wanted to do something that downtown Evanston was missing,” McGrath said. “We were also trying to fill a void that nobody else wanted to.”

McGrath said the name Bitter Blossom comes from the distinctive juxtaposition of words, symbolizing alcohol as both a delightful pleasure and a potential poison.

The bar radiates a blend of nerd-friendly, a little off-the-beaten-path, fantasy-themed decor, according to McGrath. They said the decor items were contributed by the team members, and are primarily personal items from their homes.

“Everybody who works there, there’s a lot of them physically on the walls,” McGrath said. 

The team encountered challenges leading to the opening. McGrath said it sometimes takes a bit longer to open a business in Evanston because of permits and regulations, and the bar opened later than originally anticipated. 

But, McGrath said they look forward to revamping Evanston’s nightlife despite the initial trouble.  

“We’re one of the first places with boots on the ground, so we’re going to get to play a big role in how bar culture and nightlife culture comes back into Evanston,” McGrath said. 

Brad Sillars, a bartender at Bitter Blossom, said he hopes to bring an element of camaraderie to the bar, fostering a sense of community. 

“Evanston is a place that I think is just ready to move into a new chapter,” McGrath said. “We want (people in) Evanston to be able to go out again and have a nightlife, (since) there’s not a ton to do late (at) night,” Sillars said. 

Bitter Blossom has a range of drink offerings, from beers to custom cocktails. Some of the signature cocktails made by the team include the Fuschia City Sour, Nyla Rose and High Hopewell.

“No idea is a bad idea until we try it and it doesn’t work,” Team Member Maeve Crecco said. 

McGrath said they envision Bitter Blossom as a haven for Evanston’s counterculture, emphasizing community and diverse experiences. 

They said they hope to foster a space that welcomes the queer community, filling a void they’ve noticed in Evanston.  

“We love this industry, and we hope others love it,” McGrath said. 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @heyyitsemoly

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