Museums and Malort: Discovering Andersonville’s Swedish Heritage - Atlas Obscura

Chicago, IL

Museums and Malort: Discovering Andersonville’s Swedish Heritage

Uncover Andersonville’s origin story in this exploration of Swedish culture in Chicago, then and now.

Trace the heritage of Andersonville through the Swedish American Museum, along Clark Street, and into the secret former speakeasy beneath the famous Simon’s Tavern. Once a cherry field just north of the city limits, Swedish immigrants settled in Andersonville when it became illegal to construct wooden homes within the city limits after the Great Chicago Fire. We’ll meet at the Swedish American Museum where our guide will walk us through the permanent exhibit highlighting the path that immigrants took to the new world. Learn about a hero who saved more than 20,000 people during the Holocaust and marvel at the businesses you never knew were founded by Swedish immigrants.

After our tour, we’ll head out to the streets of Andersonville to search for hints of heritage hidden among the hip businesses on Clark Street. We’ll cap off our afternoon at Simon’s Tavern, a former speakeasy with Swedish roots. You’ll be greeted with a glass of glogg or a shot of Chicago’s bitterest claim to fame: Malort. Meet the current owner of Simon’s and hear about the history of the bar before joining him on a “nickel tour” of the former basement speakeasy. Hang around for another drink at Simon’s after the event or wander Andersonville on your own, checking out shops, restaurants, and hunting for hints of Swedish influence.


  • The event will start promptly at 1:00 pm inside the museum. Please arrive by 12:50 to check in.
  • Keep it authentic by bringing an actual nickel to tip your Speakeasy tour guide.
  • This event is accessible via the Berwyn Red Line Stop.
  • There is street parking available in the area. Please arrive in plenty of time to search for a spot.
  • We will be walking about a mile on this tour, so please wear good shoes and dress for the weather.
  • Strictly 21+ only.
  • The ticket is non-refundable, but you can transfer your purchase by following this handy Eventbrite tutorial.


Email Joie Mikitson at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.