CHICAGO (CBS)–Loud music, scantily-clad partygoers and piles of vomit often fill the sidewalks on the 500 block of North Wells in Chicago’s River North neighborhood on Friday and Saturday nights.
Neighbors of the controversial Bottled Blonde, with the backing of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, want the establishment shut down. They say the chaotic scenes that play out near the bar each weekend have become a calamity.
Residents of the upscale neighborhood have been engaged in a battle with the bar since 2017 when complaints started piling up high enough to prompt the city to move to attempt to revoke Bottled Blonde’s liquor license.
The city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection issued an order to revoke the license, but an appeal filed by Bottled Blonde’s attorneys is still being considered, and a judge is allowing it to stay open in the meantime.
Ald. Reilly described Cook County Judge Neil Cohen’s decision to allow the bar to stay open as “disappointing.”
“I am extremely disappointed that the business has been afforded the ability to remain open and continue to draw out this frustrating process,” Reilly wrote in a Dec. 13 letter mailed to River North residents.
In the letter, Reilly also encouraged residents to call 911 if they observe any illegal and/or unsafe activity outside of the bar before the next court hearing on Jan. 14.
One point of contention in the city’s battle against Bottled Blonde was whether the establishment serves enough food to maintain a liquor license classification as a restaurant and not a club. The city claims most of the business’s profits come from liquor instead of food, the Sun-Times reports.
Judge Cohen ordered Bottled Blonde’s owners to hand over seven months of revenue records showing a breakdown of food and alcohol sales by Dec. 19, but that hearing was continued to later this month.
Bottled Blonde recently has been going the extra mile to push its food offerings, using social media to brand itself as a “pizza place” and offering a $10 burger and beer special.
The establishment has also been using the #businessasusual hashtag in most of its posts, perhaps to remind followers who are aware of the business’s contentious situation that they’re still open for business.