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Beachwood Inn, Beloved Wicker Park Dive Bar, Up for Sale

By Alisa Hauser | October 9, 2014 8:56am
 Beachwood Inn at 1415 N. Wood St.
Beachwood Inn at 1415 N. Wood St.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK —  The second-generation owners of neighborhood staple Beachwood Inn have put their bar business and the building it operates in up for sale.  

"This is the end of an era for Beachwood. It's a Wicker Park institution," said Realtor Brooke Daitchman, who is selling the bar at 1415 N. Wood St. for owners Bob and Jim Stepien.

Daitchman, who is also a former Beachwood Inn bartender, having worked there several years ago, said the property went under contract with a local buyer earlier this month who is planning to keep a bar on the premises. 

Alisa Hauser says the regulars are planning a goodbye party:

No sale has been finalized and there are still "contingencies and technicalities" being worked out, Daitchman cautioned.

"We are optimistic that it will be closed in November," Daitchman said.

"It's a prime location. We had a lot of interest in the property but mainly from people interested in it because it is a bar. The new owners can do whatever they want with it but the future will definitely be as a bar but it will not be the same. It will be re-conceptualized," Daitchman said.

At the corner of Beach and Wood Streets, from which the inn derived its name, the bar is owned by brothers Bob and Jim Stepien, whose father Leonard Stepien opened the bar in 1950.

Daitchman said some of the bar's employees, though they were unsure of when a sale could happen, were planning what they are calling a farewell party on Oct. 26.

Daitchman said the bar would likely remain open through November after the party, too, depending on when the sale would happen.

Reached by email, co-owner Bob Stepien declined to comment.

Steve Rhodes, founder of The Beachwood Reporter, a local current events blog named for the bar, has been frequenting the local watering hole since the early 1990s. Rhodes recently moved to Logan Square after 18 years in Wicker Park, where much of his time was spent hanging out in the Beachwood Inn.

"People thought I lived there but I didn't; it was such an important place to me that I named my business and website after it since that's where we came up with idea," he said.

Rhodes said during the bar's heyday "the main attraction was the people."

"You had a 22-year-old rocker chick next to the neighborhood mailman who would show up after work in his uniform, just a mix of ages and occupations.  [Bob and Jim Stepien] created a real community environment. It wasn't pretentious at all," Rhodes said.

Jess Straka, a Humboldt Park resident, heard about the Oct. 26 farewell party that one of the bartenders is hosting though a friend on Facebook.

"It's just really sad to see another old established bar close where people have been going for decades. It's a haven, like Gold Star or Club Foot, which I am also devastated is closing," Straka said, referring to a bar at 1824 W. Augusta Blvd. that is planning to close next month.

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