A hearing has been scheduled for Thursday morning at Daley Center, as officials from Bottled Blonde want the city to lift the revocation of its business license. City officials affixed a large, orange city sticker on the door of the River North’s establishment on Wednesday announcing the revocation. The bar opened in 2015, and residents have argued in city hearings that Bottled Blonde has operated as a boisterous nightclub instead of the family-friendly restaurant it presented itself when securing necessary permits to the city.
Bottled Blonde is an Arizona-based chain that’s part sports bar and part nightclub. When it opened at 504 N. Wells Street, officials described it as a contemporary Italian restaurant. Management is seeking another stay that would allow the bar to operate. City officials issued an emergency stay in November 2018 that allowed Bottled Blonde to operate normally. That came to an end on Wednesday.
Residents quickly organized before Bottled Blonde opened, creating a website in 2015 asking city officials to block the opening. They forecasted noise complaints and traffic problems. Turns out they could tell the future as residents at nearby condo buildings said they could hear music from floors above. They also complained about traffic bottlenecks, security concerns, and vomiting patrons.
Bottled Blonde attorneys argued they were unfair targets and that ownership had a right to run their business the way they wanted. After Chicago police made recommendations to the city, Bottled Blonde made some changes, like hiring additional security guards. But it wasn’t enough to sate residents who wanted them closed.
The process has been lengthy, as the city doesn’t often revoke licenses. Bottled Blonde has also gone through a few attorneys. At a May 2016 hearing, attorney Thomas Raines compared the bar to two of Chicago’s fine dining stalwarts, Next and Schwa. Another attorney, Thomas Fitzgerald, was fired in September 2017. He was jailed in Michigan for drug-related charges. The bar also found controversy in June 2017 when allegations of a racist dress code spread online.
Stay tuned on Thursday for updates.