BUCKTOWN — Lottie's Pub, which opened 80 years ago on the heels of Prohibition's end, is celebrating the milestone with 80-cent mimosas, beers and burgers during a weekend celebration starting May 17.
The storied pub has been around long enough to reportedly count mobsters, politicians and the cast of "Chicago Fire" among its clientele.
The joint was first opened as Zagorski's in 1934 by Lottie Zagorski, who took the building at 1925 W. Cortland St. from a neighborhood grocery store into Zagorski's very own tavern.
Emily Morris joins DNAinfo Radio to talk about the history of Lottie's Pub:
But, as legend goes, the basement was where the real parties started.
"For over 30 years, Lottie's basement served as a place of anonymity for mobsters, political figures, and anyone else seeking it," according to a statement from the pub. "Lively parties, horse betting, strip teasing, and all-night poker extravaganzas thrived."
Zagorski had been busted by the authorities at least twice for running a gambling operation out of the basement, said Mark Domitrovich, who now co-owns Lottie's as part of Pioneer Tavern Group.
But for all the sordid history, Zagorski was a respected neighborhood figure and well known by those on both side of the law, Domitrovich said.
"She was kind of the glue who kept it together," said.
Zagorski died in 1973, and the pub got its new name in the 1980s.
Since then, it's become a somewhat quieter go-to for neighborhood meetups or for grabbing a drink while watching a game.
NBC's "Chicago Fire" also used Lottie's as the set for the Molly's, the show's main bar, and it's a star turn the pub shows off with pride.
"Molly's By Day, Lotties by Night," a sign outside the door reads.
To commemorate the years spent in business and to celebrate its legendary owner, Lottie's will have 80-cent draft beers all day on May 17. The bash will also include $5 Jameson, $5 Jameson Black and Stormys and $8 14-inch pizzas.
From noon-4 p.m. that Saturday, the pub will also offer 80-cent burgers. Throughout May 18, Lottie's will have 80-cent mimosas.
The party lasts until Lottie's 3 a.m. closing time on Saturday and then 2 a.m. closing time on Sunday.
Even if Lottie's is no longer the same place it once was when Zagorski was around, Domitrovich said plenty of the pub's regulars still remember the famed tavern owner.
One who still stops by for a drink said he remembered Zagorski giving the neighborhood kids money and candy, Domitrovich said.
"It’s pretty amazing it’s still here," Domitrovich said. "And it’s kind of always been involved in the neighborhood."