Last night The Happy Gnome announced via Instagram that it would close on December 22. The restaurant was known for its expansive beer menu, a sweet patio in the summer, and a fantastic beer list. When the Gnome took over the location at 498 Selby Avenue the expansive beer list that pulled in craft and specialty brews from all over the country was a big deal. The opening partnership of Mark van Wie and Paul Schatz knew the beer world well, and at the time also operated the Muddy Pig, similarly known for great beer. The Pig closed in 2018 and the location remains vacant.
What separated The Happy Gnome was its focus on fine dining level food in a pub atmosphere. The chefs changed over the years, most recently Jeremy Bechtold, elevated what could be standard bar fare to something a bit more special occasion.
Back in 2006, City Pages’ then restaurant critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl marveled at the 100 beer list that included a new local brewery called Surly. The Happy Gnome continued to delight fans and draw neighborhood regulars and will undoubtedly be hosting many in these last few days.
The lights will go out on Sunday December 22 and the Gnome will be serving until then.