CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, August 27 – On the banks of the North Branch River in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood, with little fanfare, Chicago native and carpenter Nick Segura has quietly been designing and building bars for some of the most talked about and anticipated watering holes and breweries.
Sawdust plumes engulf Proletariat, his Northwest-side shop, as exotic woods are given new life. Segura’s reputation for craftsmanship and attention to detail precedes him; his work replete with clean architectural lines and luminous wood grains that evoke a sense of “Pure Chicago.” A city once brimming with neighborhood watering holes and dark mahogany bars, Segura is bringing back the art and craftsmanship of times past. Like Chicago’s incomparable skyline itself, his work seamlessly marries the modern and the classic.
Chicago born and raised, Segura grew up in the city’s Little Village neighborhood on its southwest side. Fascinated by power tools and craftsmanship at a young age, one of his first jobs was cleaning the shop floor for a neighborhood cabinetmaker. He learned quickly the importance of accurately estimating a job and negotiating fair wages, when payday rolled around and his blood, sweat, and tears amounted to little more than a handful of pocket change – hardly enough to buy a cold soda.
After graduating from Chicago’s Curie Metro High School he earned his Journeyman’s card with the Carpenters Local 1185 and later trained as a fine cabinetmaker. The 2008 recession found Nick expanding his work within the trade: framing, roofing, tile, drywall, and even metalwork. Tending bar between carpentry gigs, Nick discerned the culmination of his skill, creativity, and passion for woodworking could be realized by building bars; the burgeoning microbrew and craft cocktail craze sweeping Chicago made the timing perfect.
Since its founding in 2016, Proletariat has completed bar builds for Mikerphone Brewing in Elk Grove Village, 18th Street Brewing in Hammond, Maplewood Brewing in Logan Square, Beer Temple in Avondale, and Fischman Public House in Portage Park. Nick is currently in the design phases of a new bar, Osito’s Tavern, in Little Village and an expansion of Mikerphone’s current tap room, called “The Blue Room.”
Through Chicago’s tightly-knit craft beer community, Mike Pallen, Owner and Head Brewer of Mikerphone Brewing, met Nick and “quickly saw how inspired and talented He was.” Given their mutual respect for one another’s craft, Proletariat was Pallen’s first choice to design Mikerphone’s bar, tables, and a one-of-a-kind back bar featuring custom-built replicas of amplifiers from Fender to Marshall, highlighting the tap room with an Mike’s deep roots and love of music.
“Proletariat’s work at Mikerphone is more than just a bar; it is a showpiece marveled at daily by beer drinkers and bar enthusiasts. When I launched Mikerphone, I asked Nick and his wife to design the artwork for my beer labels, a job they have held exclusively to this day. That’s the thing about Nick, his artistry extends beyond bars.”
In 2017 one of Chicago’s preeminent craft beer stores, The Beer Temple, expanded their operation to include a taproom, partnering with Proletariat to design and install their bar. When asked about their relationship with Proletariat, Chris Quinn, Owner of The Beer Temple said he “chose Proletariat for a number of reasons, chief among them, they truly care about their craft and the bars they build.” “From conception to wood selection and design, Proletariat worked with us to create the perfect bar, the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is exceptional.”
Founded in 2016, Proletariat Woodshop specializes in custom bar design and installation. With a comprehensive approach to addressing client needs, it has evolved to include tap handles, tables, bar rails and other commercial and residential bar and brewery related products.