BUCKTOWN — A legendary dive bar that opened in 1951 and was on the brink of closing before being bailed out by a personal loan will close anyway and turn its liquor license over to the city, its owner announced Monday.
The last day of business for Marie's Rip Tide Lounge at 1745 W. Armitage Ave. in Bucktown will be Saturday, said owner Tina Congenie.
On Sept. 5, Congenie plans to sell the 3,600-square-foot building at the southwest corner of Armitage and Hermitage avenues to her immediate neighbor, contractors Bulley & Andrews at 1755 W. Armitage Ave., for $2 million.
Congenie, 49, said "a couple factors," including financial stress, weighed into her decision to sell the bar and its building, which is also where she lives.
"I was just financially not making it. I did not want to sell. I wanted to keep it going, but all good things come to an end," Congenie said.
Congenie said there would be "a big party Saturday, with all kinds of memorabilia on the bar, if people want to come by."
When Marie's founder Marie Wuczynski passed away, she willed ownership of the bar to Congenie, who said she would be using proceeds from the sale to find a new place to live.
Chris Curran, an attorney for Bulley & Andrews, confirmed there was a pending contract for the sale of the building.
In January, the construction firm next to the bar offered to pay $550,000 for the building, but Congenie took a $150,000 loan from friend Richard Parrillo to keep the bar going.
At that time, Congenie was under pressure to come up with $120,000 to pay the heirs of Marie Wuczynski, who died in 2011.
Reached by phone in Miami, Parrillo said he had "no comment" about Congenie's plan to sell the bar.
After the sale of the building, Congenie said she planned to pay the loan back in full to Parrillo.
What's next for the Marie's Rip Tide building?
So far, it's unclear.
"To tell the truth I don't know if they know right now," Curran said of Bulley & Andrews. "It will be used for some relation to their business, but I'm not sure they have a plan right now."