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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Did Huettenbar Close For Good? Neighbors Worry As Beloved Lincoln Square Bar Goes Dark

The bar's signs were removed and neighbors saw items being moved out. Huettenbar's owner declined to answer questions about the beloved German bar's fate.

Huettenbar at 4721 N. Lincoln Ave. remained closed Oct. 25, 2020. Its signage was removed last week, neighbors said.
alex v. hernandez/block club chicago
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LINCOLN SQUARE — Neighbors are concerned Lincoln Square’s Huettenbar may have permanently shut down after the bar’s signs were removed last week.

The owner declined to answer questions about the historic bar, and local officials and community leaders haven’t been able to confirm its fate.

The German-themed bar at 4721 N. Lincoln Ave. in the heart of Lincoln Square has been owned by Irma Frolich for 35 years.

Last week, neighbors started wondering what was going on after they noticed the bar’s signs had been taken down. On Tuesday, people were seen moving items out of the bar, said Dena Pavlovic, manager of ENJOY Lincoln Square, 4723 N. Lincoln Ave.

“We had heard rumors that they might be closing,” Pavlovic said. “But when we started seeing people move stuff out one of the mornings, I saw one of the bartenders who worked there. I asked her if it was true and she said yes, unfortunately.” 

The bar remained closed Wednesday and Thursday, days it normally would be open. Its distinctive garage-door style window was shut and there were gates in front of the main entrance. A Google search of the business lists it as “permanently closed.”

The bar’s website is no longer active and its most recent Facebook update was from Sept. 26, when the bar was offering drinks to go.

Huettenbar launched a GoFundMe in April to support staff during the statewide coronavirus shutdown. It raised over $13,000 in four days. The fundraiser hasn’t posted an update since April 3.

When reached by phone, Frolich declined to answer questions about the bar’s fate.

A spokesperson for the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce declined to comment.  

Lincoln Square Partners, which owns the building Huettenbar is in, did not immediately respond to questions about the space.

Several people walked by the bar Thursday, staring at the building to try to determine if it was closed for good.

“It’s a bummer,” neighbor Eric Fernandez said. “I hope somebody is able to snatch it up and bring it back. It’s really nice inside.”

Frolich bought the bar in 1985, according to the Chicago Bar Project. Its inside has colorful murals and a similar old world charm to the former Chicago Brauhaus across the street. 

Credit: provided
One of the murals inside Huettenbar, 4721 N. Lincoln Ave.

Monica Jirak, executive director of DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, said they are interested in safeguarding part of Huettenbar similar to how they preserved the Chicago Brauhaus on their second floor.

“If that is the case [and they are closed], the DANK Haus would like to preserve some of the artifacts,” Jirak said. 

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