RIVER NORTH — A River North bar has reopened its sidewalk patio after suing its upstairs neighbors over scaffolding it says killed its summer business.
John Reed of Blue Frog's Local 22 said the bar he owns with his family reopened the 75-seat patio at 22 E. Hubbard St. right after the scaffolding came down Thursday.
But he said Blue Frog's Local 22 will still sue the neighboring condominium association at 440 N. Wabash Ave. for monetary damages, arguing its work on the building's windows — and the resulting scaffolding that prevented the summer patio from opening earlier this year — cost the bar at least $120,000.
"And that doesn’t include what accountants come up with, the potential loss in revenue," Reed said. "It was close, man. If it hadn’t been for the Blackhawks and the Grateful Dead we may have closed the doors till it was all over."
The bar, which hosts karaoke five nights a week and was the subject of a "Bar Rescue" episode in 2011, sued its condo neighbors in May in an attempt to remove the scaffolding and open its patio then. A Cook County judge allowed the work to proceed, and the scaffolding eventually came down last week after the Hubbard Street window work was complete.
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Ray Rodriguez, president of the Plaza 440 Private Residences Condominium Association, said he was "happy to see" the patio open again, but was unaware his condo board still faces the threat of a lawsuit.
"I had hoped the owner of the Blue Frog's and its property would have concluded all litigation with the residents' association when the scaffolding was removed, but I guess the owners will have to continue to defend ourselves against these claims," he said via e-mail.
Though his legal fight isn't over, Reed is glad he can run his patio again.
"Like we thought, the minute we opened it up it was filled," Reed said. "Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday were all 25 percent higher than they were since this whole thing started."
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