BUCKTOWN — Now that the financial troubles plaguing the heir to an iconic Bucktown bar appear to be over, the next hurdle will be regaining her 4 a.m. license, a lawyer said Thursday.
Speaking of bar owner Tina Congenie, her lawyer Sean Mulroney said, "The probate estate had to be closed first. She did not have the right to move forward on another license until today. . .now she can do it."
The bar's longtime manager, Congenie inherited the assets and business of Marie Wuczynski when the famed bar owner passed away in 2011. However, a settlement that was due to Wuczynski's three children needed to be paid before the estate could be fully transferred to Congenie.
On Thursday, Cook County Judge Mary Ellen Coghlan ordered that the estate be closed, since a $150,000 check from a private substitute lender (who took over an initial loan offer from Richard Parrillo ) had come in and will be used to pay Wuczynski's children.
"She got a guy to lend her some money, a good Samaritan," said Mulroney, who worked with the substitute lender's lawyer, Ed Wanderling, to finalize the paperwork for the deal March 8, in advance of Thursday's probate court date.
Mulroney said re-applying for the 4 a.m. license is something Congenie as a heir has the right to do. However, "it's not a fast process," he said, and he's "not sure when it will be back."
"She will be working on it. She is excited to be back in business..."
The legendary lounge at 1745 W. Armitage Ave. is located in an area that has a ban on late hour liquor licenses, introduced by Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) in November 2010.
While a February 2011 Tribune obituary for Wuczynski described the bar's late-night license as making it "a destination for a nightcap or two, for drinkers throughout the city," language from Waguespack's website indicates that half of the 17 bars in the 32nd ward which have late hour licenses are "the source of deleterious impact for residents or serious safety safety concerns for the police districts."
While city of Chicago law prevents heirs to sole proprietors from applying for liquor licenses in an area with a liquor moratorium intact — unless it is lifted first by an alderman — an exception to the moratorium exists for liquor licenses that are held as a corporation or LLC.
After Wuczynski's death, Congenie, in May 2011, was able to change the bar from a sole proprietorship to a corporation, Congenie said. That action coincided with a name change from "Riptide Lounge" to "Marie's Riptide Lounge" — done to "honor Marie," Congenie said.
Congenie recently changed the bar's hours to open at 12 p.m. daily instead of 5 p.m.
Congenie is also encouraging the community to come out to the bar for a Grand Reopening Bash on March 22.
Prices will be rolled back to 1961, the year Wuczynski founded her bar.
"Beer and shots will be 30-cents from 8 to 10 p.m.," Congenie said.
Stay abreast of updates on the bar's Facebook page.