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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Jefferson Park’s Brigadoon Reopens Friday — But More Repairs Needed After Fire Tore Through Neighborhood Bar

Employees wanted to reopen with a fully renovated space, but the financial strain was too severe to keep the bar closed any longer. A virtual fundraiser is underway.

Jefferson Park pub Brigadoon, 5748 W. Lawerence Ave., temporarily closed due to a fire that damaged the inside of the building.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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JEFFERSON PARK — Brigadoon is back in business Friday after an accidental fire forced the pub to close for repairs — but patrons won’t be able to use the back room or play pool quite yet.

The longtime pub, 5748 W. Lawrence Ave., has been closed since May 7 after the fire. It started when an exterminator placed a smoke bomb outside of the building, and the smoke bomb rolled toward an exterior wall and caught on fire, longtime bartender Ursula Kot previously told Block Club.

“It was out of this world, like out of a movie,” Kot said.

No one was hurt, but the damage was extensive, Kot said. The bar’s back wall and pool table room were destroyed. The bar’s ceiling and floor still need to be replaced, but the bar passed its inspections and the city has cleared it to reopen, Kot said.

The apartment on top of the bar also suffered fire damage, but Kot said it wasn’t too severe.

Bartender Kari Burns said the bar is opening with bare walls and no ceiling tiles. The back room — the area that received the most damage — will be sealed off.

The staff wanted to reopen with a fully renovated bar, but the financial toll of not working has been too much, said Burns, who organized a virtual fundraiser for the five employees that raised more than $1,500.

“We were hoping to hold out for an unveiling of a renovated bar, but our bartenders are struggling financially and the owner of the bar is suffering financially as the tenants upstairs are still unable to live in the apartment,” Burns said.

Credit: Facebook
Brigadoon, 5748 W. Lawrence Ave., opens again June 11, just in time for a baazar yard sale that will have 20 local artists over the weekend in the adjacent yard.

Burns said the insurance process has been “a nightmare” and the bar will likely need to close for at least a day soon for painting and installing ceiling tiles and flooring, but the team is anxious to get back to serving customers.

The soft opening comes just in time for the bar’s yard sale, which will feature crafts by 20 local artists. The free event is noon-7 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. The bar will also have karaoke on Friday night, one of its signature events.

The fundraiser divvied up $300 for each bartender.

“I’m grateful that we at least have that,” said Kot, who relies on the bar as her only job and has worked there for nine years. “Let’s hope [Friday] will be a big turnout.”

People can still donate to the fundraiser to help the bartenders get back on their feet.

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