ROGERS PARK — Down with the Old Style, up with the new.
After complaints from the 49th Ward Office, the recognizable and historic Old Style sign above Cunneen's bar, at 1424 W. Devon Ave., was removed and replaced with a new one, which now displays the bar's namesake in cursive.
"If you're a star like me, you can have your name all lit up at night," said Stephen Cunneen, who took over the bar in 1972.
Cunneen said he misses the Old Style sign, blaming "gentrification" for the change. But he's also has warmed up to the new one — and might even like it more.
Ben Woodard says not much had changed at the neighborhood joint until recently:
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said his office encourages businesses to upgrade their signs and to avoid signs that extend from the building. But in this case members of his staff negotiated with Cunneen, whose permit was up for renewal.
"Personally, I kind of liked the Old Style sign," Moore said, adding that he delegates tasks, such as permit renewals, to his staff. "It had a nice retro feel to it, which was in keeping with the vintage Chicago theme of the bar."
Bill Savage, a 25-year bartender at Cunneen's who also teaches a month-long course about Chicago's tavern history at Newberry Library, said the sign was likely erected in the '70s, when Budweiser deliverymen went on strike — and "the Old Style guys didn't."
The strike enabled Old Style to take over many beer contracts throughout the city, and "these signs sprung up overnight," he said.
But now, he said, "these things are getting rarer and rarer," and the rarer they get, the more people will want them back.
"In 50 years, people are going to be looking for the last Old Style sign in the city, he said.
Now Cunneen's old Old Style sign is stored in Savage's brother's basement.
Savage said his brother is thinking about making it into a light fixture.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: