The Gage, at 24 S. Michigan, is situated in a group of three buildings (18, 24 and 30 South Michigan) collectively known as the Gage Group. They were built in 1889-1890 by Holabird & Roche for the millinery firms of Gage Bros. & Co., Theodore Ascher & Co. and Edson Keith & Co.
The facades, which resulted from master architect Louis Sullivan's collaboration with Holabird & Roche, demonstrate two different approaches to the Chicago School, a design movement that led to the creation of modern commercial architecture. With their simple external structure visually expressing the underlying skeleton and little applied ornamentation, the buildings by Holabird & Roche foreshadow the Chicago skyscrapers of the 1960s and 1970s. The facade designed by Sullivan (at 18 South Michigan) exemplifies Sullivan’s more expressive approach and was one of his last commissions.
The Gage is owned by the Lawless Family who hail from Galway, Ireland and have been in the hospitality industry since 1977. In Ireland, the Lawless family owned and operated several renowned bars, restaurants and hotels including Gallows Prospect Hill, Taaffe’s Shop Street, Trigger Martyns (now Tigh Coilin) and The Twelve Pins, a full service 20-bedroom hotel which included a bar and acclaimed restaurant.
The Lawless family moved to the U.S. in 1997 and acquired an existing restaurant in Wrigleyville. They completely reconcepted and renovated the establishment and opened Wrigleyville’s first Irish bar, The Irish Oak (www.irishoak.com) in 1998. The Irish Oak remains a favorite of locals and tourists alike and has just celebrated its seventh anniversary. Featured recently in the Sun Times, the “Oak” is Zagat guide recommended and was voted Best Irish Bar 2004 by Citysearch and Winner of both the AOL City Guide 2004 for Comfort Food and the 2004/2005 Silver Platter Award.
In 1998, the Lawlesses looked North and acquired Winners, a sports bar in Lincoln Square, together with a partner. They oversaw a complete renovation of the establishment to reflect a more modern Irish bar/restaurant and The Grafton was opened in late 2002. Today, The Grafton has attracted a loyal clientele and the establishment is among the most successful in Lincoln Square.
In early 2006, the Lawlesses divested their share in The Grafton in order to focus on The Gage.
The Gage was opened in early 2007.