EDGEWATER — The owners of Parlour on Clark said a liquor license moratorium enacted last year has blocked their efforts to sell the popular LGBT hangout to someone who would "reinvent and re-energize the space."
Owners Nikki Calhoun and Jennifer Murphy said in a joint statement that when business began to decline, they started looking for a buyer and planned to list the bar for $125,000.
"That's when the biggest blow hit us like a ton of bricks," they said. "We were informed that our alderman had put a moratorium on our location and a few others in the area that virtually rendered our business worthless."
Now they're just closing up shop.
The moratorium — sponsored by Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th) and Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) and approved by the City Council in February 2013 — prohibited new liquor licenses and prevented most transfers of licenses to new owners.
Murphy said in an email Thursday that O'Connor had refused to lift the moratorium for the bar. But O'Connor said the bar owners canceled a meeting with him earlier this week and that he would, with community support, work with them.
Dan Luna, Osterman's chief of staff, said Thursday morning that preventing the transfer of liquor licenses to new — and unknown — owners was exactly "what moratoriums are for."
"Ald. Osterman and O'Connor wanted to put one on that stretch so the community has more say-so in what goes on there," he said. "We want to be sure that new owners who come in are good owners."
Luna said moratoriums have been lifted in the past to allow for new businesses with community support, such as for high-end liquor store Independent Spirits Inc. on North Broadway.
"If they have somebody in mind, we’ll work with them," Luna said.
Murphy said she was out of options.
"Just the mention of a moratorium to a prospective buyer turns people away and reduces the value of our business dramatically," she said.
Parlour on Clark's last call will be Sunday, after a week of specials.
Murphy said business declined in recent years, despite the initial "smashing success" of the bar when it opened in 2010.
"As devastating as this has been Nikki and I are proud of our efforts and mostly proud of the money we were able to raise for some great organizations through the many benefits that were held at the bar," Murphy said. "We are also very thankful for the wonderful people we were able to meet that have passed through our great bar."
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