As Bucktown Staple Cans Closes, Rumors Swirl About Mystery Retail Tenant

By Alisa Hauser on February 9, 2013 9:02am 

BUCKTOWN — There's not much time left to enjoy a few cans at Cans Bar & Canteen in Bucktown. 

After a 10-year-run, general manager Bryan Burrow said that Feb. 16 will be the bar's last day in business.

"We hope to open in a different location somewhere soon, but for now we're going to say goodbye," Burrow said.

Old friends, fans, regulars and former employees are invited to celebrate next Saturday, where Burrow said that the party will involve "trying to drink all of the liquor left in the bar."

Cans is owned by Three Headed Productions, which also owned Salud Tequila Lounge at 1471 N. Milwaukee Ave., until it closed Feb. 2 after an 11-year run, and Evil Olive, 1551 W. Division St.

Reacher by phone, Matt Lindner, founder of Three Headed, said he finalized the sale of the corner building with 3,690 square-foot of ground-level space and six apartments at 1640 N. Damen Ave. in May and was renting from the new owners, real estate developer Newcastle Limited.

"We love the neighborhood and are proud; we had a great run in that space," Lindner said. "We were in need of a remodel anyway and it was time to move on. Feb. 16 will be a very emotional day."

Echoing Burrow, Lindner said that he will be exploring the possibility of bringing the Cans brand to another neighborhood. 

An update on the Cans Facebook page Wednesday solicited feedback on good locations.

Lindner said that a retailer in the "athletic wear" space is coming to the space next, though he was unable to divulge a name.

"Everyone is asking me everyday if it is Nike, and the truth is I don't know, though if it were true, I don't think it would be such a bad thing. Nike's got a cool, hip factor," Lindner said.

The mystery retailer will likely be using two floors, since the new owners are booting the tenants above Cans, including the offices of Three Headed Productions, which are headquartered above the bar, Lindner said.

 Cans Bar & Canteen will be closing Feb. 16 after a 10 year run at 1640 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown.  The new owners of the building, real estate development firm Newcastle Limited, seek to change the zoning to a commercial shopping district designation.
Cans Bar & Canteen will be closing Feb. 16 after a 10 year run at 1640 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown.  The new owners of the building, real estate development firm Newcastle Limited, seek to change the zoning to a commercial shopping district designation.
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Newcastle Limited/Brennan Hitpas

At a neighborhood meeting Wednesday, Brennan Hitpas, vice president of development for Newcastle Limited, which also purchased a strip mall at 1562 N. Damen Ave. in June and a mixed residential property 2010 W. Pierce Ave, presented a rendering of the proposed space.

Hitpas declined to comment on the tenant, even though the space is 100-percent leased, according to Newcastle's website.

Members of the Wicker Park Committee voted almost unanimously 16-0-1 in favor of the re-zoning from a limited manufacturing/business district designation to a B-3-3 community shopping district.

Wicker Park Committee's Preservation and Development committee chair Ed Tamminga said he was happy with the rezoning and believes it's consistent with the other retailers on the street.

"Never in my history with the committee have I ever seen a tavern license go away so easily," Tamminga said.

Bucktown Community Organization president Steve Jensen said that his group has not met to discuss the rezoning but imagines it will pass through easily.

Though the property is currently in the 32nd ward, when the new zoning takes effect, it will be in Ald. Bob Fioretti's second ward.

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) was unable to confirm the new tenant. 

"It is leased but they want confidentiality on the tenant for the moment," he said.

Waguespack called the request "not a big deal" and said he spoke with Ald. Fioretti and they are "on the same page with it."

Reached by phone, Fioretti said, "I think it's a positive development for the neighborhood and I am pleased to join the community in supporting the change."

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