The saga of the Bottled Blonde took another turn Tuesday morning, as the hearing to revoke the club/restaurant’s liquor license was pushed back another week because the 72-year-old attorney representing the club was jailed over the weekend in Michigan on drug charges. Bottled Blonde has since fired attorney Timothy Fitzgerald and the bar’s owner pled with city officials at Tuesday’s hearing to reschedule the proceedings so they would have time to hire a new lawyer.
They’ll reconvene next week on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at City Hall to — hopefully — wrap up the proceedings, according to DNAinfo. Residents who live near the Bottled Blonde have complained to police and city officials for two years saying that the establishment doesn’t take security seriously and they over-serve alcohol to patrons. The drunken customers leave the bar then allegedly vomit on homes, drive home drunk, and cause traffic problems in River North, residents have testified.
As for Fitzgerald, the grey-haired attorney has represented Bottled Blonde since this summer when the hearing began in June. DNAinfo reported that on Friday he was charged by the Berrien County (Michigan) sheriff’s department with two counts of delivery and manufacturing of marijuana and maintaining a drug house. Berrien County contains several touristy towns for Chicagoans, including New Buffalo and St. Joseph.
Bottled Blonde was also subject to Internet outrage over a racist dress code for customers that’s since disappeared. The dress code is not part of the hearing process. The conflict is over if Bottled Blonde lied to city officials and residents over how they were going to operated the place. They described the place as an Italian restaurant. But when staff moves seating to make room for DJs and dancing, it feels more like a club with a focus on alcohol sales.
Fitzgerald had butted heads with city hearing officer Robert Nolan throughout proceedings. Much of the tension came from scheduling conflicts. Nolan is the one responsible for determining the fate of Bottled Blonde’s liquor license. Fitzgerald was to present Bottled Blonde’s case during Tuesday’s hearing, as the staff members were to testify.
Meanwhile, Bottled Blonde hosted NFL fans on Sunday, and the bar continues business as usual. The bar would have the right to appeal any decision Nolan would make. But now after this latest twist, it may be premature to assume any closure on the matter.