Lincoln Park’s Cafe Brauer is one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. It’s not quite a hidden gem, seeing that its near the well-traveled paths of Lincoln Park Zoo, but it is a building that’s easy to overlook with all the action often going on on that stretch of Stockton Drive.
Built in 1908 and designed by Praire School architect Dwight Perkins (Schurz High School is among his better known buildings), Cafe Brauer began life as a restaurant, built by restauranteurs Paul and Caspar Brauer. But the restaurant was gone by the 1940s and the building—amazingly---spent nearly half of the 20th century as a storage before a late 1980s restoration by Lawrence B. Berkley & Associates, Meisel & Associates and Wiss Janney Elstner allowed it to re-emerge as a restaurant. It is a building beautiful details, including clay title insets, curving loggia and remarkable brickwork. And of course the ballroom and the surroundings make it a popular spot for weddings.
Cafe Brauer is closed for the season, with the relative quiet around the place now, it’s probably the best time to view it.