Bottled Blonde has struck back against the city, less than a month after officials ruled to revoke the bar’s liquor license. The owners of the infamous River North establishment — the one with the controversial dress code and the one which has antagonized neighbors due to a myriad of allegations — has filed a counter lawsuit against the city alleging officials had no basis to revoke their license.
Bottled Blonde argues that it never agreed to a 2016 amendment to its operating plan which mandates the bar to sell more food than alcoholic drinks. City officials over the summer argued that more than 60 percent of the bar’s sales came from alcohol which violated that rule. That change came from Maria Lapacek, commissioner of the city’s department of business affairs and consumer protection, according to the lawsuit. Bottled Blonde’s attorneys claim that only Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former city liquor control commissioner Gregory Steadman had authority to amend the plan, thus its unenforceable. Emanuel, Lapacek, and current city liquor commissioner Shannon Trotter are listed as defendants.
Last month, city officials ruled Bottled Blonde misrepresented itself when applying for city permits. The owners of the Arizona chain of bars told officials they would operate as an Italian pizzeria. However, residents showed videos of employees moving furniture out at night to clear room for a dance floor; the space operated more like a dance club at night, and that required a different set of permissions. Neighbors began worrying about the bar in 2015, even before the bar opened. After the bar debuted, locals complained about over-served customers, traffic problems, and more.
Bottled Blonde has continued to operate as it begins appealing the city’s decision to revoke its liquor license. Expect more hearings in 2018. The lawsuit was filed on on December 14 in Cook County circuit court. Courthouse News first reported the story.