WICKER PARK — Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) announced on his Facebook Page Monday that he has no plans to grant the Division Street bar Innjoy a late-hour license.
"Having heard the opinions of the community groups, 1st Ward Alderman Moreno has stated that he will not support a late-night license, and in fact, he has seen no application from the business," the update said.
On Wednesday, the owners of Innjoy, 2051 W. Division St., held a meeting at the bar to gather feedback from neighbors about the bar's request to stay open until 5 a.m. on Sundays and 4 a.m. the rest of the week. They also had been meeting with community groups after they began the application process in late September.
Reached by phone Monday, Rich Kewitz, manager of Innjoy, said that he was unaware of the Facebook statement from Moreno.
"Best thing we can do is go through the process as it's outlined by the city. Do what the process requires and go from there. We're doing what we need to do and going about the process outlined by the city," Kewitz said.
He added: "Obviously, we would like to get the support based on the operation's performance on the 12 years we've been on Division Street. On our end, we thought we would warrant the ability to go through the process. There's a lot to absorb and do our own due diligence to see if there's been a communication problem here."
Nir Basse, Innjoy's lawyer, was unavailable for comment on how many signatures his client had received in support of the change. The request could still go forward even without Moreno's approval.
But many in the community applauded Moreno's position.
"The Wicker Park Committee is happy [Moreno] came out on our side and would like him to institute a moratorium on late-night licenses along that area of Division," said Teddy Varndell, president of the Wicker Park Committee, a neighborhood group. He said he "would love to see a moratorium passed on Division [from] Ashland to Western" but said the group was "very happy he listened to the community and applaud him for that."
Neighbor Julie Dickinson, who had collected 100 signatures against the license, also praised Moreno's announcement, as did another bar owner on Division.
"It's good news," said the bar owner, who asked not to be named. "I'm certainly relieved. It sets a good precedent for the kind of businesses we want to see on the street. It's a nice step forward for what's acceptable and what the neighborhood wants."