Pilsen residents protest proposal for new bar

Chicago News
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CHICAGO Residents in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood protested Saturday in opposition of a proposal for a new bar, which residents say would further disrupt the neighborhood.

Protesters gathered at the intersection of 18th Street and Sangamon Avenue Saturday afternoon, criticizing Headquarters Beercade’s proposal for a third location in the neighborhood.

Headquarters Beercade currently operates locations in Lakeview and River North.

Owners for the bar filed for a liquor license for the Pilsen location in 2019, but the city turned down the application, saying the neighborhood did not need another rowdy bar in the area.

Arcade owners then appealed to the Illinois Liquor License Commission which sided with the bar and granted it a conditional license three months ago.

Chicago’s law department is currently fighting that decision and filing an appeal with the Cook County Circuit Court.

Pilsen residents complain of current parking shortages and traffic congestion, along with patrons of two other nearby bars being loud at night and littering garbage on residential streets.

“I think we can have development without railroading our neighbors. What’s happening is people are coming in with businesses that are very inconsistent with residential lives,” resident Matt Richmond said.

Headquarters Beercade released this statement Sunday:

HQ Pilsen applied for a liquor license to operate as a restaurant at 917 W. 18th Street in the Pilsen neighborhood. As part of the diligence and application process, the owners of HQ Pilsen, who are independent operators of two other successful restaurants in Chicago and one in Nashville, met with the Alderman, met with the police and attended two community meetings, which resulted in support for the license application and the concept. However, because of community concern, after the filing of the application, the Alderman opposed the application and thus the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection denied the application. Despite the efforts of HQ Pilsen to attempt to resolve the concerns of the community and the Alderman, HQ Pilsen had to proceed to a hearing on the merits of its application before the City of Chicago Liquor License Appeal Commission (LAC)—a commission comprised of two State of Illinois Liquor Commissioners and a Chair person who is a mayoral appointee. The LAC unanimously ruled in favor of HQ Pilsen, finding that the City’s concerns were unwarranted and further finding that the City’s witnesses were not credible. HQ  Pilsen prefers a dialogue with the City and the Alderman rather than litigation but that decision is in the hands of the City. It’s unfortunate that in this climate, a small business that will bring jobs and a warm atmosphere to the community has to ward off speculation and falsehoods from some of those same community members that the city of Chicago found not credible. HQ Pilsen is built on a foundation of friendship, equality and inclusion. That mentality has served well for the past decade and we look forward to spreading that into Pilsen.

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