CHICAGO (CBS) — A Wrigleyville bar was caught on camera breaking the state and city’s reopening guidelines, and other bar owners and bartenders said they’re worried the bar’s bad behavior will end up costing everyone.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina confronted the owner of The Dugout, 950 W. Addison St., and he said he is not breaking any rules.READ MORE: ONLY ON 2: Kenneth Smith, Convicted 3 Times Of 2001 Burrito Express Murder, Released On Appellate Ruling; Victim's Family Maintains Smith Is Guilty
Owner Ed Cressy said the bar limits the number of people inside, requires face masks and social distancing, and stops serving before 11 p.m. A Facebook video tells another story.
“Every bar in Wrigleyville and Cook County is closed right now,” the man taking the video is heard saying. “But here’s The Dugout, ignoring rules.”
In the Facebook video, people are shown with no masks and not social distancing, but there is plenty of service going on – almost two hours past the 11 p.m. closing time mandated by Phase 4 restrictions.
The time stamp on the video says 12:44 a.m.
Longtime Chicago bartender Michael Beard was the one took the video and posted it to Facebook.
“No face masks. No gloves. The bartender was obviously behind the bar pouring drinks as I was recording,” Beard said.
Beard said he’s not the only one in the industry sick of hearing The Dugout is breaking the rules.
“I’ve just had it!” Beard said. “Like, this guy is literally just spitting in the face of his entire industry.”
And that is why he said he showed up this past weekend to expose what’s going there.
“He’s going to get us all shut back down again, and then what are we going to do? We’re all going to go back on unemployment or even worse,” Beard said. “I’m not going to sit idly by and watch that happen because he wants to break the rules.”READ MORE: 15-Year-Old Bolingbrook Girl, Dykota Morgan, Dies 3 Days After Contracting COVID-19
But owner Cressy tells another story.
He set up an interview with Molina in the suburbs, then canceled, choosing to send a statement, instead. Heh claimed in a series of texts that he has kicked Beard out of the bar in the past, insisting The Dugout is in compliance with all of the city’s codes and regulations.
Cressy wrote, “I kicked a guy out of my bar for being rude and argumentative with some of my other customers then he start(ed) to get very loud and agitated with me and I told him he was banned from my bar for life, so he threatens me with all his bad rep on social media‘s and all this other stuff.”
He also accused others of “spreading lies on the Internet” about the bar.
Cressy wrote further: “We comply with all city codes and regulations to the best of our abilities,” saying the bar had purchased “thousands of face mask(s), hand sanitizers, bacterial soap’s (sic), thermostats (sic) to take employees temperatures,” and was also observing social distancing rules.
If you’re thinking all of this looks familiar, it is not the first time The Dugout was under a spotlight…
Cressy and The Dugout were on the popular TV show “Bar Rescue” a few years ago. Host Jon Taffer walked off the show in the final scene after complaining that Cressy was drunk, and Cressy’s staff quit on screen.
We asked the city if they’ve looked into compliance at The Dugout this weekend. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection released the following statement:
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“The City of Chicago continues to respond to complaints and proactively investigate restaurants and bars for compliance with the phase four reopening guidelines. While BACP has not received a specific complaint against The Dugout Bar, BACP investigators did canvass Wrigleyville over the weekend as part of our overall enforcement strategy. We did not find any phase four violations at that time. However, the selling of alcohol after 11 p.m. and social distancing violations will lead to citations of up to $10,000, and we will be following up with an investigation of this business. We encourage the public to call 311 to file a complaint and we will follow-up on those concerns.”
The department said this past weekend, city investigators inspected hundreds of businesses and conducted 49 full investigations in entertainment districts around the city in response to complaints. Ten citations were issued to five businesses for failing to maintain social distancing and were fined.