Skip to contents
Near North Side, River North

Bottled Blonde Finally Closes After Years-Long Fight With City

The bar at 504 N. Wells St. had been closed and reopened multiple times amid legal fights with the city and neighbors stretching back to 2017.

Outside the Bottled Blonde in River North.
David Matthews/DNAinfo
  • Credibility:

CHICAGO — The Bottled Blonde, a controversial North Side bar, has finally closed after battling the city for years.

The bar at 504 N. Wells St. had been closed and reopened multiple times amid legal fights with the city and neighbors stretching back to 2017.

But the bar finally gave up its business license Monday, putting an official end to all the fights, according to a spokesman for the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

“The establishment has a history of egregious license violations, including over-occupancy, noise violations, public urination, vomiting and other problematic conditions that have had a serious impact on neighbors and the surrounding community,” the city spokesman said in an emailed statement. “The city is pleased that yesterday’s action will end three years of legal proceedings with the permanent closure of this problem business.”

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 urinated outside on the street.

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.

The bar was forced to shut down in October — but then a judge decided it could reopen while appealing the shutdown so long as it put up a $100,000 bond.

The loss of the business license means the bar is now closed for good, though.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.