AVONDALE — One of the neighborhood's oldest bars has been sold, but don't worry — the "slashie" will remain.
The owners of Rocking Horse, Dante’s Pizzeria and High Dive are taking over Crown Liquors, 2821 N. Milwaukee Ave., and plan to to eventually add a restaurant to the classic half bar, half liquor store (get it, "slashie"?)
Lifelong Logan Square and Avondale resident Lourdes Arencibia sold the business to Avondale resident Georg Simos and his business partner Alex Tsolakides.
The bar is an “old fashioned Chicago-style taproom,” said Arencibia, whose family has owned the 3,000-square-foot bar for 11 years, though its history stretches back decades.
“It’s been that since the end of Prohibition," she said.
Crown Liquors' bar is temporarily closed while the new owners transition into the building, but the liquor store is still open with an expanded craft beer section. Tentative plans include the addition of a kitchen and restaurant with outdoor seating to coincide with the recent construction of an outdoor plaza directly in front of the business, Simos said.
“Everyone in the bar business had inquired about Crown at one point or another,” Simos said, adding that the outdoor plaza construction made the area even more appealing. “We thought it was an opportunity to do something different."
Simos lives within a few blocks of his new Avondale spot and is also involved in the upcoming A Day in Avondale festival. A new name and concept for Crown Liquors and the restaurant hasn't been decided yet.
The business sits at the six-corner Milwaukee, Kimball and Diversey avenue intersection that's currently undergoing rapid change including an arts revitalization at next door neighbor Hairpin Arts Center, an award-winning historic reconstruction project at the Gap Building across the street and a notable increase in retail.
The new public plaza outside Crown Liquors is also slated to host community arts, music and theater events as soon as next summer, said Arencibia, who hopes to see the intersection turn into the thriving place it once was.
"I remember when Logan Square was incredibly vibrant, on a Saturday it was packed with people at Logan Square Boulevard and Milwaukee Avenue — [buildings] between Kedzie and Kimball were full of shops. I could go on and on about what was there,” Arencibia said.
While there might be challenges along the way, she said it can happen again.
"Were getting incredible restaurants and bars and that bring in more people, but rent is also going up and people are being forced out. Artists are moving in and now they're having a difficult time staying. So it brings good and bad."
Balancing the changes requires continued community dialogue, she said, "but I think Logan Square and Avondale are up to that task.”
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