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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Wynwood In Wicker Park Shut Down After City Finds Multiple Violations, But Owner Hopes To Reopen This Weekend

The Miami-themed bar and restaurant was also cited for violating the city’s mask mandate last week.

Wynwood, a bar and restaurant inspired by Miami's famous "Wynwood Walls," is at 1560 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.
Hannah Alani/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — Wynwood Kitchen and Spirits in Wicker Park has been shut down by the city after failing a building inspection, records show.

The city’s Department of Buildings shut down the bar, 1560 N. Milwaukee Ave., on Oct. 16, according to a sign posted on the establishment’s front door.

City inspectors found no smoke detectors in the bar, inoperable exit signs and exposed wiring in the basement, according to an inspection report. The bar was also in violation of fire safety measures, the city said.

“There are high pressure gas tanks in the basement that are not enclosed in a fire separated enclosure,” the report said. “This enclosure must be fire rated with the appropriate fire rated door. Plans and a permit are required. Dangerous and hazardous.” 

Wynwood owner Samantha Lukaszewski said some of the violations in the report are holdovers from before she moved into the building in 2019, and they’re being addressed immediately. 

“There’s just a few minor violations, but it was enough to shut us down. So obviously, we’re just doing our due diligence and working with the city to make sure the building is up to code,” she said. 

Lukaszewski said the bar is hosting two charity events this weekend, and hopes to open Friday or Saturday at the latest. 

“A lot of the stuff were things that haven’t been brought to my attention when I bought it in 2019, so this is kind of the first time that I’m seeing any of this,” she said. “We’re just working with the city to make sure that we’re getting a few of the bigger things handled as soon as possible. But we have plumbers there, electricians, we’re just getting it all taken care of.” 

Building inspectors also cited Wynwood for operating a sidewalk patio without a license.

Lukaszewski blamed the violation on a processing error. She said she paid for the license earlier this year, but it never showed up in the city’s system. Regardless, the restaurant is closing their patio for the rest of the year.

Wynwood was also cited last week by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection for violating the city of Chicago’s mask mandate.

Lukaszewski said the citation came after a building inspector asked an employee to speak up, and the employee instinctually pulled her mask down.

“We have all our staff wear masks all the time, all our staff has gone through the COVID certification with the city of Chicago,” she said.

Lukaszewski opened Wynwood in 2019 at the former site of the High Noon Saloon. The restaurant’s decor is inspired by Wynwood Walls, an outdoor art museum in Miami known for graffiti and street art. 

“That’s kind of where Wicker Park lies, too,” Lukaszewski told Block Club in 2019. “What better way [to celebrate] that than graffiti and glam?”

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A closed sign by the Department of Buildings is posted on the bar Wynwood, 1560 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Wicker Park on Oct. 19, 2021.

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