Pseudo-western, pseudo-gastro pub is not the most common descriptor for a bar and grill, but it’s probably the most accurate way to describe Frontier. It’s a relatively new place that is trying to leverage its proximity to a pretty good butcher on Milwaukee to claim a more gastropub-like experience.
The concept has some potential and the bar seems to have gotten to the level of competent service after some fits and starts when it first opened. However, the food isn’t really THAT different from other places in the neighborhood (though, they do have game in the menu). It seems a little more creativity could get the menu to be really over the top.
Tap selection at Frontier has followed a similar steady upward trajectory as they have some very appropriate seasonal selections with a good range of styles, and the outdoor seating area is pretty nice compared to most of the Wicker Park/Noble Square spots.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is that all the items ordered arrived at the table. This has not always been the case at Frontier. I’ve been in groups that had dozens of oysters not make it to the table.
Overall, we have a bar that has graduated from “I’m not sure what they’re doing” to “It’s a solid place that’s worth a stroll down the street.” Congrats, Frontier: I can now be bothered to walk down the block and have an oyster. The growing pains were not in vain.