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City Closes South Side Irish Bar Cork & Kerry for COVID-19 Infractions

The Beverly bar’s management ignored social distance guidelines over the weekend, according to an alderman

Cork & Kerry in Beverly.
Cork & Kerry [Official Photo]
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

On Sunday, the city shut down Cork & Kerry — the 32-year-old South Side Irish bar in Beverly — after a series of COVID-19-related violations. City inspectors visited after a report that a bar worker tested positive for novel coronavirus, according to an email sent by Ald. (19th Ward) Matthew J. O’Shea’s office. The same email states inspectors on Saturday and Sunday visited the bar at 10614 S. Western Avenue and saw Cork & Kerry workers weren’t wearing masks and were staying open past the city’s mandated midnight closing time.

The bar will remain closed until the city sees and approves a plan so it can “reopen safely and responsibly.” The email from O’Shea’s office also mentions the health department hit Cork & Kerry with citations in June. The city can fine bars and restaurants a maximum of $10,000 per COVID-19-related infraction. Cork & Kerry on Western has a patio, but doesn’t serve food. On Friday, the city shut down bars with tavern licenses as COVID-19 cases recently surged. Bars under that license — those that don’t serve food — could only serve customers outside on patios. Cork & Kerry made a Facebook post last week touting on it was taking the threat seriously.

Major League Baseball held Opening Day this weekend across the country, and the White Sox played its home opener Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field. When bars reopened in June, much attention was placed on the North Side and the bars surrounding Wrigley Field. There were reports of overcrowded bars and patrons who ignored wearing facial coverings.

Cork & Kerry is one the more popular bars for White Sox fans, and the O’Shea’s description seems to match the some of the reports from Wrigleyville. Some feel those reports were overblown, and say the bars were on their best behaviors over the weekend. Most of the bars around Wrigley Field serve food, so they were open over the weekend, unaffected by the city’s shut down.

This is at least the third bar/restaurant the city has shut down from COVID-19 complaints. The city has also closed Wise Owl Drinkery & Cookhouse in West Loop. Last week, the city closed down Darrin’s Cocktail Lounge on the South Side in Burnside, according to ABC Chicago.

But the closures don’t have to be permanent, at least in Cork & Kerry’s case. O’Shea’s letter also reads “Given the current economic climate, I have asked [Business Affairs and Consumer Protection] Commissioner [Rosa] Escareno to work with the owner to come into compliance with COVID regulations.”

A spokesperson for BACP writes “Irresponsible actions like this put our entire city at risk and will not be tolerated.” Since June, BACP has gone through 1,877 reopening complaints, conducted 784 investigations, issued 130 warnings, cited 48 businesses, and closed three businesses.

A message to Cork & Kerry’s owners wasn’t immediately returned. The owners also have a second location closer to Sox Park, in the former Jimbo’s space. The Tribune first reported the story.

Cork & Kerry

3258 S Princeton Ave, Chicago, IL 60616 (312) 842-0769