AVONDALE — Half bar, half liquor store Crown Liquors could reopen next year, reversing one of Avondale’s first pandemic-related closures.
The owner of the building at 2821 N. Milwaukee Ave. plans to reopen the neighborhood spot in 2021, said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), whose ward includes the site.
The news comes months after bar owner Georg Simos shut down Crown Liquors because of coronavirus. Building owner Don Glisovich, who owns several properties across the city, declined to comment.
Simos confirmed Glisovich hopes to reopen the bar, but said he and his business partner, Alex Tsolakides, are not involved.
Simos and Tsolakides, who also own Rocking Horse, Dante’s Pizzeria and High Dive, shut down Crown Liquors in April, just a few weeks after the pandemic hit. He said keeping Crown Liquors open through the pandemic was not a “realistic option” for them.
Simos didn’t offer an explanation at the time, but on Monday he said the reason they closed the beloved bar was because they couldn’t afford to keep paying rent during the stay at home order.
“Essentially, [Glisovich] wanted rent and we weren’t in a position to pay it. It pretty much boils down to as simple as that,” he said.
Simos said he feels no ill will toward Glisovich as he prepares to take the reins of the bar and they continue to work with Glisovich. The real estate investor also owns the building that houses Dante’s.
“Everybody’s doing what they have to do to get through this thing in one piece,” Simos said. “He and I have had our ups and downs, but what’s done is done.”
Ramirez-Rosa has introduced an ordinance to allow for the “transfer and continuation” of the tavern license at the site, which is situated on a block with a liquor moratorium.
The ordinance needs approval from the City Council’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection and then the full City Council in January, the alderman said.
Once the bar reopens, Glisovich has agreed to adhere to a “plan of operation,” Ramirez-Rosa said. That includes a commitment to cleaning Woodard Plaza daily, helping to maintain the area neighbors rejuvenated after years of neglect.
Crown Liquors dates back to the end of Prohibition.
The original Crown Liquors was an “old fashioned Chicago-style taproom,” the previous owner said in 2014, shortly after she sold the 3,000-square-foot bar to Simos and Tsolakides.
The pair renovated the bar and brought in traditions like Hot Dice, a game in which drinkers roll dice to determine which shot they get. Over the years, countless local and touring bands have performed in the back of the bar.
When the bar reopens, Glisovich will be able to keep the Crown Liquors name, as it’s not trademarked, Simos said.
Neighbors with questions about the alderman’s ordinance can contact the alderman’s policy director, William Drew, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.