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Patrick Cullen

Owner, Presidio

We’re saluting Bucktown’s newest watering hole Presidio, and the dashing visionary behind it. With a background of Chicago-faves like Rockit Ranch and Drumbar, Patrick Cullen brings his accessible Midwest style and West Coast love together for a craft cocktail concept. Taking over the old Bluebird space on Damen Avenue, the Presidio space boasts a strong character, striking the perfect balance of industrial and contemporary vibes. And if that’s not enough of a come-hither, Patrick grounds his mission in outstanding cocktails with an equally enjoyable meal—and we’re totally on board with both! With the help of an A-list team, Alex Renshaw from Drumbar and Brian Sturgulewski from Fulton Market Kitchen, we can’t wait to settle into this neighborhood jaunt. And what’s in a name? Presidio pays homage to Patrick’s love for the San Fran area, as the Presidio is a National Park adorned with empowering views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. Read on to learn Patrick’s daily essentials, the design inspiration of Presidio and, of course, what spirits we can expect from this hot spot.


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GF-Spotlight_grooming_Patrick Cullen PresidioGROOMING MUST-HAVES>> scent: LE LABO SANTAL + BERGAMOTE // moisturizer: KIEHL’S CREME DE CORPS // face: SUNDAY RILEY SKIN ADRENALINE and START OVER // hair: MURRAY’S ORIGINAL POMADE // 

The design of Presidio feels like you’re stepping into someone’s super chic living room—tell us about the design inspirations?
The space is definitely a mix of several major inspirations. Huge credit goes to my good friend John Wolf, of Wolf Home Design, who did an absolutely outstanding job of working with my scattered brain thoughts—as well as the pre-existing elements in the space such as the exposed brick and reclaimed barn wood. The most important thing was to create a space that was elevated but still approachable. A spot where everyone feels sexy and part of the crowd.

There’s definitely a masculine touch to the space—and we love it!—who is the Presidio clientele?
I used to live in Bucktown and was very familiar with The Bluebird space and the role it played in the neighborhood. That is definitely a focus for us—maintaining a place for our neighbors to enjoy an intimate date, a business meeting, or a night out with a group of friends. The location is also very well known by our friends in the service industry and we want to continue to be a location where they can hangout when they aren’t working at their own venues.

Presidio prides itself on seasonal cocktails. Let’s look ahead to Spring and Summer—what’s on tap?
We’re very excited about the emphasis our cocktail menu will have on fresh and seasonal ingredients. Early spring will be the perfect time to debut then menu and Alex and Brian will emphasize the use of fruits and vegetables sourced from local farmers.

We’re craving a cocktail just thinking about it! What’s your favorite craft cocktail from the Presidio menu?
The Banana Cobbler [pictured right]. It’s a well balanced, new take on a traditional cobbler with Oloroso sherry, caramelized banana syrup, lemon and freeze dried banana slices for garnish that tie it all together.  Its very refreshing, complex and you’ll be left wanting another.

With a background in the hospitality industry in Chicago, you know a thing or two about good places. When you’re not at Presidio, where can we find you?
I have a solid group of spots in my rotation that are my regular go-to’s. Avec has been one of my favorite restaurants in the City since they first opened. The food, the space, and the experience are unlike anything else in Chicago. I find myself returning to Longman & Eagle and Nightwood whenever possible whether for a few cocktails and bites, or a stuff-your-face-kind-of meal. I live a block away from Gilt Bar. That’s my spot to grab a seat at the bar for some solo drinking and dining on a Sunday night. 

Presidio, 1749 N. Damen Avenue, 773.486.2473
Want more inspiration? Check out Patrick’s San Fran picks here. 

PHOTO: MARIA PONCE