Lance Law wore a Salvador Dali mask and Hansel a Duffman costume, straight out of The Simpsons, when the Review stopped by on Oct. 26 to talk to the new owners of Forest Park Tap Room, 7321 Madison St.
Lance and Hansel Law are brothers and owners of the brand-new bar, which opened just days before the state mandated all bars and restaurants cease indoor service until improvements in COVID-19 statistics are seen.
But Oct. 24 was a great night, Lance and Hansel said of the Tap Room’s grand opening last weekend.
The brothers, young and enthusiastic, are renting the space from building owner Mark Hosty, who ran Healy’s Westside prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. He shut the bar in the early days of COVID-19 and never reopened, announcing its permanent closure on Oct. 13.
The Laws grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and they own Berwyn Tap Room at 6330 16th St., a business they started last October. Hansel lives in Oak Park and Lance in Berwyn, so when they thought about opening a second bar, they wanted it to be somewhere close.
“We already came to Forest Park a lot for dinner. It’s a great location, and it has a great vibe,” said Lance. “When we heard about the opportunity to open a bar here, we knew we wanted to do it right away.”
Having survived one 3-month COVID closure with their first bar, the brothers are disappointed that it’s happening again, but not surprised. Their hope is that the additional restrictions placed on bars and restaurants by the state will be temporary and short-lived because they have big plans for the space.
“We’re still a sports bar,” said Lance. “But we’re expanding what that means.”
The brothers plan to cater to different crowds on different nights of the week. Karaoke on Tuesday. A college night on Thursday. Maybe a ladies’ night on Friday, which has been successful at their Berwyn location.
Overall, though, their focus is on diversity and inclusivity. They want to make Forest Park Tap Room a place for all (legal) ages and races to come together.
“We want people to feel comfortable here,” said Hansel.
“We want to break the mold, to provide something for everyone,” added Lance.
At their Berwyn location, they said, they are involved owners, who spend a lot of time on location, and they plan to do that at their Forest Park location as well.
“We’re really approachable,” said Lance, adding that customers regularly come up to him and his brother and introduce themselves. “We love to get to know our customers and have a drink with them.”