Eater Chicago: A Tour of The Vig, An Atypical Old Town Sports Bar

Eater Chicago: A Tour of The Vig, An Atypical Old Town Sports Bar

BY Ashok Selvam / Photos Marc Much
The owner of The Vig wants to target an older crowd, one that’s graduated from some of the typical sports bars that line Old Town. Ryan Marks left Big Onion Tavern Group saying that his heart wasn’t in it anymore, that he wanted to diverge from his friends’ path, a path that included bars like Fatpour Tap Works and Woodie’s Flat, the latter which is just few doors down from the Vig. The Vig is an ambitious space with 27-foot ceilings, an homage to sports gambling with photos of icons including banned baseball player Pete Rose and mafia boss Arnold Rothstein.

Besides his experiences with Big Onion, Marks spent a big chunk of time with the J. Alexander’s restaurant chain, and was in charge of the now-shuttered Lincoln Park location on Clybourn. The time was a heavy influence for Marks, affecting how he sees customer service. For example, he won’t call staff who check IDs “bouncers.” Marks prefers the term “goodwill ambassadors…