ROGERS PARK — The future of a Clark Street bar is looking grim after it recently was shut down by city inspectors after noise complaints from neighbors.
The owner of the building said she needs a tenant — but she might not renew the lease of neighborhood dive Jarheads when it ends next year.
"I have to have a tenant in there," said the owner, Carol Kolodziej. "I have to pay the city their blood money. It could have been avoided if [the bar owner] turned the music down."
Inspectors found fire protection, electrical and structural code violations at the building at 6973 N. Clark St. on Sept. 13, said Jennifer Lipford, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Buildings.
But Kolodziej — who sold the bar to Erick Estrada four years ago for $15,000 — said she had yet to hear from the city about what she would need to fix to keep Jarheads in business on a stretch of Clark Street peppered with empty storefronts.
"When the building department gives us whatever they want us to do, I will do it best that I can," she said. "I feel Chicago screwed me. I’m used to getting screwed."
Estrada, a 26-year-old Marine, said he tried his best to address neighborhood concerns about his bar.
"It’s just been rough," he said when reached by phone. "I try to be optimistic about everything. All I want to do is cooperate. I want to make everybody happy."
The city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection held an informal hearing with Estrada in August to discuss the noise complaints, said 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore's staff assistant Mike Land.
Land said his office never called inspectors to come knocking on Jarheads' door, a common tactic to target problem businesses in the city. He speculated that the tenants living above the bar might have called police, who then requested an inspection.
"We advised them a long time ago to" quiet down, Land said.
Estrada said he had re-enlisted in the military recently and didn't have enough time to supervise the bar every night.
Now he said he's trying to sell the business.
Bouts with the city are common with small bars that cause a ruckus. Not far away, Gallagher's Bar on Greenleaf Avenue was shut down by the city last year after complaints and a shooting purportedly involving a bouncer outside.
Kolodziej, of Northbrook, said with a year left on Jarheads' lease, she's shopping around for a new tenant — perhaps a "veterinarian clinic" or "animal rescue."
But certainly, she said, "not a bar."