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Ceiling Collapses at Cunneen's Bar, Sending Regulars Scrambling

By Benjamin Woodard | February 5, 2013 11:00am | Updated on February 5, 2013 11:54am
 Cunneen's Bar, 1424 W. Devon Ave., has been a neighborhood institution for 40 years.
Cunneen's Bar, 1424 W. Devon Ave., has been a neighborhood institution for 40 years.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — A creaking and cracking ceiling at a Rogers Park bar came crashing to the ground last week, sending customers scrambling for the door and the bartender diving under her beer taps.

The chaos at Cunneen's Bar was like a scene out of an action flick.

"You know in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark?' " said bartender Janet Pratt about the famous rolling boulder scene at the start of the classic film. "It started at one end. We turned and we looked, and it just fell."

Pratt and three others  were in the bar at 1424 W. Devon Ave. when the drop ceiling lived up to its name about noon on Jan. 28.

No one was hurt. Pratt dove under the bar, and the others, including owner Stephen Cunneen, ran out the front door.

Pratt, who has tended bar at Cunneen's for eight years and keeps the books, said they were lucky the bar wasn't busy when the ceiling caved.

The humble tavern is well known for its 50-cent pool games, antique phone booth and a glowing clock above the bar. It features the image of Chicago's most-famous mayor, and is known simply as "The Daley Clock."  The cash-only establishment just recently installed a TV for watching sports events.

Locals have been calling, emailing and commenting on the bar's Facebook page to ask when the neighborhood institution will be back in business.

"I think we’re a little lost," Pratt said of the regulars. "It’s where we go."

Repairs could take up to three weeks, according to the contractors working to replace the ceiling.

Pratt said she's hoping the bar will be open next Friday.

She said the neighborhood charm of the bar would not be changed.

"It's going to be the same," she said. "It’s not going to look new — only cleaner."

"We’re not going to have exposed brick walls," she said. "It’s not us."