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River North, Gold Coast, Near North Side

Bottled Blonde Shut Down After City Yanks Its License Amid Years-Long Legal Battle

The River North restaurant and bar has a hearing Thursday morning to appeal the decision.

Outside the Bottled Blonde in River North.
David Matthews/DNAinfo
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DOWNTOWN — The Bottled Blonde is finally closed after the city yanked its liquor license Tuesday — but the River North restaurant can appeal.

The revocation is the latest move in a years-long battle between the city and the restaurant and bar at 504 N. Wells St.

Bottle Blonde opened in 2015 but, over the years, came under heavy criticism from neighbors who said its patrons were too loud and rowdy and vomited and peed outside.

The Bottled Blonde faced even more scrutiny in 2017 when its strict dress code went viral online, with critics saying it was racist.

By then the city was already fighting to revoke the Bottled Blonde’s liquor license, saying the venue operated more as a club and bar than the pizzeria it’d claimed to be when setting up. Neighbors had been fighting for an end to the restaurant for years.

The legal proceedings dragged on, with the city bringing up various charges against the Bottled Blonde. The city tried to revoke the restaurant’s liquor license in 2017 and again in November 2018, but a judge ruled the restaurant could keep open while it appealed.

But the Cook County Circuit Court sided with the city on Tuesday, saying the Bottled Blonde’s license should be revoked. The city shut down the restaurant.

The Bottled Blonde can appeal and will have a hearing Thursday.

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