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Chicago Shuts Down Bar That Held Indoor Trump Rally With Rod Blagojevich

The Firewater Saloon in Mount Greenwood was cited for an event over the weekend

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was among those who attended a November Trump rally at a Chicago bar.
Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images
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.

The city of Chicago has shut down a South Side bar that violated statewide COVID-19 mandates over the weekend by holding an event with nearly 100 attendees. The bar also hosted a pre-Election Day rally for former President Donald Trump. The city’s announcement came Thursday when it shared the results of its latest report which details how inspectors responded to COVID-19 complaints, including restaurants that alleged allow indoor dining. The report listed 13 venues.

Beyond the weekend event, the rally in question was held on November 1 at Firewater Saloon No. 1 in Mount Greenwood. It was headlined by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and attended by Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara, Chicago’s union leader who made national headlines for defending the violent insurrection earlier this month at the nation’s Capitol. The event organizers — a consortium of groups including Make Mount Greenwood Great Again, Back the Blue, and Keep Illinois Open — billed the gathering as the “Trump 2020 Keep Illinois Open Rally with Rod Blagojevich.” The former governor was sentenced 14 years in federal prison in 2011 on corruption charges. Trump granted clemency to Blagojevich last year.

As reported by multiple outlets, the city issued a “long-term closure order” to Firewater for holding an indoor gathering with 99 people. The bar is now shut down until it can produce a plan for the city showing that it won’t break the indoor dining ban again. Firewater has a second location in Edison Park on the city’s Northwest Side, which has also been cited in December for allowing indoor dining. A worker who answered the phone Thursday afternoon at the Mount Greenwood location had no comment, other than attorneys would determine the bar’s next step.

The city also listed Jean Banchet Award winner Cafe Istanbul in Wicker Park and Pilsen Mexican stalwart Canton Regio as restaurants that allegedly allowed indoor service. Earlier this week, Canton Regio announced that it was closed until further notice. Ownership wrote the shutter was due to licensing issues, not violations.

Here’s a list of restaurants and bar cited in Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s latest report in which it conducted 107 investigations:

  • Barraco’s Pizza, 2105-2121 W. 95th Street (indoor dining)
  • Cafe Istanbul, 2014 W. Division Street (indoor dining)
  • Canton Regio, 1510 W. 18th Street (indoor dining)
  • Dee’s Candyland, 648 E. 75th Street, (indoor dining and drinking)
  • Estrella Blanca Night Club. 3049 N. Cicero Avenue (allowing indoor drinking)
  • King Crab House, 1816 N. Halsted Street (indoor dining)
  • McGee’s Jukebox Lounge, 7000 S. Halsted Street (indoor dining and drinking)
  • Mitchell’s Tap, 3356 S. Halsted Street (indoor dining and drinking)

  • Chicago police union president apologizes for his defense of pro-Trump mob [Sun-Times]
  • Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appear at Trump rally in Chicago [The Times of Northwest Indiana]
  • Trump Grants Clemency to Blagojevich, Milken and Kerik [New York Times]
  • South Side bar that hosted Trump rally shut down for violating COVID-19 restrictions; 12 others cited [Tribune]

Cafe Istanbul

2014 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 661-9487 Visit Website

Canton Regio

1510 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 733-3045