WICKER PARK — A tavern untouched for almost 40 years could be reopening as "Queen Mary," a boutique cocktail bar that would pay homage to the former owner's wife.
Matt Eisler, co-owner of Heisler Hospitality Group, at a community meeting at Innjoy, 2051 W. Division St., made a brief presentation before about 30 members of the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association on Thursday. There was no opposition at the meeting to Eisler's zoning variance request, which would permit a tavern to operate at 2125 W. Division St.
The matter will come before the group for an official vote in November, said the neighborhood association's president Steve Niketopoulos.
Eisler, whom along with business partner Kevin Heisner, has a track record of preserving vintage watering holes such as Ukrainian Village's Sportsman's Club, described the Division Street bar as "a time capsule of neighborhood taverns of day's past."
Eisler said there were still "dusty bottles" in the bar when he first toured it.
Since signing a lease to rent the bar two years ago, Eisler said bringing Queen Mary to fruition has become "a passion project."
Eisler said he plans to maintain the integrity of the bar and salvage as much as he can, including the original Brunswick mahogany bar.
"Everything we can salvage we totally intend to," Eisler said.
Since the bar is small and can only seat around 40 people, there is no room for a kitchen, Eisler said.
Before a liquor license can be issued, Eisler's request for a zoning variance still needs to come before members of the Wicker Park Committee too.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), whose ward cuts through the small portion of Division Street where the building is located, would also need to support the zoning request.
Waguespack could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
After the meeting, Niketopoulos said, "Matthew [Eisler] gave a great presentation, but it's a big enough decision that we need to have a special meeting for it."
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