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Late-Night Bar Brewbakers 'A Cancer' on the Beverly Neighborhood: Alderman

By Howard Ludwig | November 20, 2015 2:47pm | Updated on November 23, 2015 8:45am
Brewbakers in Beverly
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

BEVERLY — Neighbors living near Brewbakers Tavern aired their grievances against the only late-night bar in Beverly on Friday in City Hall.

Reports of massive drunken brawls, vandalism, drunk driving and outright tragedy filled the City Council Chamber as residents teed off on the bar at 10350 S. Western Ave. as it appeared before a city board in search of a zoning variance.

"Brewbakers is the problem bar in my neighborhood. It is a cancer on my community, and the cure cannot be to grant them this variance," said Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).

Bar owner Peter Bradarich is asking the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance to allow him to pursue a Public Place of Amusement License that would allow Brewbakers to charge a cover — and perhaps more.

 Brewbakers at 10350 S. Western Ave. in Beverly is the only late-night pub in the 19th Ward. The tavern was seeking a zoning variance on Friday, which Ald. Matt O Shea (19th) and the Beverly Area Planning Association oppose.
Brewbakers at 10350 S. Western Ave. in Beverly is the only late-night pub in the 19th Ward. The tavern was seeking a zoning variance on Friday, which Ald. Matt O Shea (19th) and the Beverly Area Planning Association oppose.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

Brewbakers had been regularly charging a $5 cover charge until authorities halted the practice on Sept. 12 because his license didn't allow it. Bradarich said the fee is used to pay for extra security, which he said includes eight bouncers and 3-4 off-duty police officers outside.

"Without the ability to supplement the costs, there is no way for me to afford this level of security," Bradarich told the zoning board on Friday.

Led by O'Shea, four nearby residents questioned the level of security Bradarich claimed to provide. They were joined by Margot Burke Holland, executive director of the Beverly Area Planning Association, and Chicago Police Cmdr. Mark Harmon of the Morgan Park District.

Sister Pat Mahoney lives less than a block away from Brewbakers and said she's witnessed drunken car accidents from her front window. She also cannot sleep with the windows open in the summer months without being awoken by Brewbakers patrons yelling obscenities as the bar closes.

Rick Coyle lives across the alley from Brewbakers and said he's witnessed mobs of 30-40 people involved in brawls outside the bar. He added that most of the patrons come from outside of the neighborhood, drawn by the late-night hours at the bar.

"You don't need an alarm to wake up at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Brewbakers will do that for you," Coyle said.

But perhaps the most alarming testimony came from O'Shea. He followed Bradarich's opening remarks with accounts he's heard from neighbors that included overserving customers, littering, vandalism, public urination and more.

He and said Brewbakers stands out among the taverns in the 19th Ward — and not in a good way.

"I receive more complaints about this bar than the other 20 combined," O'Shea said.

Harmon backed up O'Shea's claim, saying he's received 26 calls for service at the bar over the past year. One of the calls involved a stabbing and five other calls resulted in battery charges. When pressed, the commander said he receives more calls for service at Brewbakers than any other bar in the area.

O'Shea also brought up a 2010 incident in which a 29-year-old Beverly resident left Brewbakers at 3:48 a.m. An hour later, he picked up a friend's police-issued gun and shot himself in the head.

"While he survived the incident, today he remains severely handicapped," O'Shea said.

He also brought up a 2011 incident in which a 23-year-old Beverly resident and member of the Marine Corps left Brewbakers at 3:45 a.m. He was over-served and fell asleep on the CSX railroad tracks and was struck by a train, O'Shea said.

Bradarich countered the testimony by saying he's only interested in the new license as a way to help pay for added security. The bar is open until 4 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays and until 5 a.m. Sundays.

The amusement license he's pursuing would also allow for live music, sporting events and even circus acts. But Bradarich said he's not interested in any of those things and would willingly agree not to host them should he ultimately be granted the license.

Jonathan Swain, chairman of the zoning board, reminded the audience that his group was not looking at Brewbakers' overall operation on Friday but merely considering if the bar should get the variance allowing it to continue to pursue its sought-after license.

Late Friday night, the board decided to deny the variance.

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