Skip to content

Carl Nicolas’ Pearl Paint Sip and Hip brings art, diversity to Chicago enclave

Carl Nicolas at the opening of ‘Pearl Paint Sip and Hip’ – (Photo Credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

Illinois native Carl Nicolas has a passion for the arts and has manifested this passion into a space that vibrates beauty and culture. Pearl Paint Sip and Hip is his new space located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. When you enter the location, which serves as both a gallery and community event space, you are immediately greeted with beautiful artwork on the walls and a vibe that sparks creativity.

We spoke to Nicolas about what inspired this venture and why he opened his Black-owned business in one of the most highly diverse areas in Chicago.

What inspired Pearl Paint Sip and Hip?

The inspiration for Pearl came from a desire to have something that I could share with the community that embraced all the different voices and artistic visions of the art world. I wanted a space that was inclusive and gave talented painters a chance to create and share their work.

Why is a space like this important to the community?

Arts are important in the development of a well-rounded neighborhood. Pearl has the unique ability to embrace the artistic vein of the diverse Wicker Park community, but it also allows people from all walks of life to come together and host everything from baby showers to birthday parties. Essentially, Pearl is a community space that allows people to gather and fellowship, which fosters a strong, vibrant neighborhood.

What made you choose the Wicker Park area to set up your business?

Wicker Park is known for a lot of trendy restaurants and bars. I wanted to take the nightlife appeal of the neighborhood and bring something a little different to the area. When people walk by the space now and see my colored lights or my glow in the dark canvases, they don’t know (yet) whether I am a bar or some type of restaurant. I see the excitement in the people’s eyes when they realize that it is a “Paint and Sip” establishment. It’s that excitement which led me to choose Wicker Park.

Who are some of the artists you are working with?

I work with a lot of great established and up and coming artists. One of the major draws to the space is our artwork on the walls. People love the Aaliyah, Common, Lauryn Hill, and Biggie paintings. Our resident artist Just Flo, a well-known Chicago artist, is the force behind all our paintings.

What kind of events do you plan on holding in your space?

Pearl will host a myriad of events. We are set up to hold any type of event our clientele desires. We will focus on bachelorette parties, bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays parties and more. This is in addition to the paint parties we hold daily.

How will your business add value to the community?

We are a positive venue that celebrates the arts and promotes fellowship and brotherhood/sisterhood. We also plan to host different fundraising events to help bring support to worthy causes in our community.

What is next for you?

First things first is to get Pearl Paint and Sip to be the most popular “Paint and Sip” in Chicago. Next, I will begin looking for other locations that cater to our unique offerings.

Find out more at

See pictures below.