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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Quencher’s Closing In June, Set To Become Medical Office

Since 1979, Quenchers has been known for its free popcorn, lengthy craft and international beer list and live music at the corner of Western and Fullerton along the Bucktown and Logan Square border.

After running the saloon for nearly 40 years, Quencher’s owner Earle Johnson is ready to retire. [Block Club Chicago/Alisa Hauser]
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LOGAN SQUARE — After nearly four decades, Quencher’s Saloon is closing its Logan Square bar and music venue.

Pending the sale of the building to new owners who plan to operate a medical office at the site, Quencher’s, 2401 N. Western Ave. will close in mid-June, according to realtor Tom Gorsuch.

Since 1979, Quenchers has been known for its free popcorn, lengthy craft and international beer list and live music at the corner of Western and Fullerton along the Bucktown and Logan Square border.

Quencher’s longtime bar and building owner Earle Johnson told Block Club Chicago that the property is under contract with a buyer. If everything goes as planned, Quencher’s will close in mid-June.

“At this point, what it appears, is that it will no longer be a bar,” Johnson said.

Gorsuch with Garrett Realty listed the brick two-story building, which includes the bar and two upper-level apartments, for sale in November.

Gorsuch said a pediatrician has a contract to buy the building and do a full gut rehab and clear the beer garden for a four-car parking lot. There will be an additional seven spaces in the back. The upstairs apartments will be converted into offices.

Gorsuch declined to share the buyer or sale price. He said there were some folks interested in operating a bar but their offers came too late.

In February, Johnson told Chicago magazine he planned to retire and would prefer to sell the business to someone who would continue operating it as a bar. Though some people approached him about keeping the saloon as-is, none of them followed through. He said the contract that’s underway was the first to get on paper and not just conversation.

Quencher’s Saloon will close in June. [Block Club Chicago/Alisa Hauser]

Quencher’s opened in May of 1979. Johnson said he got involved with the bar in the fall of ’79, came aboard as a part-owner in 1980 and a full owner in 1981.

“I have mixed feelings, seller’s remorse, all that sort of thing,” Johnson said. “There is a responsibility for the people and the community that has made this their place. Most of the people here now have been here a number of years.”

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Johnson said people like bartender Ray Kozicz started 30 years ago and is now known as “Uncle Ray” among regulars.

Once the deal closes within the next few weeks, Johnson said he plans to “clear inventory and the memorabilia.”

Fans who want to keep a physical piece of Quencher’s can do that; perhaps with a drawing, beer sign, figurine or basement treasure.

“We are looking to have a clearance sale for the last month or so and are working on having a major sale for all the memorabilia in the third week of June,” Johnson said, adding that he is toying with the idea of maybe operating an antiques store in his retirement.

Earle Johnson poses with his son David Johnson. The elder Johnson became a first time dad at age 54 and credits his sons, David and Dean, 16, for keeping him young. [Block Club Chicago/Alisa Hauser]