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After 31 Years, Justin's on Southport Closes -- Get Your Memento At Auction

By Ariel Cheung | January 5, 2016 3:27pm
 Justin's closed this week after 31 years at 3358 N. Southport Ave.
Justin's closed this week after 31 years at 3358 N. Southport Ave.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

SOUTHPORT — If you're sad to see Justin's go after 31 years in Lakeview, we've got one heck of a silver lining for you.

Justin's closed after New Year's Day, and everything inside — including the kitchen sink, actually — will be sold during an auction Jan. 26 at the bar, 3358 N. Southport Ave.

Owner Justin Salk isn't holding anything back, selling off Cubs memorabilia, the bar's 25 flat-screen televisions, furniture, fire pits, speakers, neon signs, kitchen supplies and vintage movie posters.

The list of auctioned items includes a Chicago Stadium poster, the lamp posts from the beer garden, framed tickets from Blackhawks championships, a 1969 Cubs poster, a gorgeous rendering of Wrigley Field and neon signs for Budweiser, Shiner, Red Hook and Sierra Nevada.

There is one thing he's thinking about holding on to, though.

"Maybe I'll take the urinal," he said, straight-faced.

Justin's closed this week and will auction off most of its decor, memorabilia and equipment Jan. 26. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

Salk isn't feeling overly sentimental as he closes the chapter on Justin's after three decades, but he is amazed at how the Southport Corridor has changed since he opened bar in 1984.

"There was just nothing here, and [now] it has exploded," said Salk. As one of the first on the now-bustling corridor, "some say Justin's was sort of a blue print for a certain type of Chicago bar," he added.

The Chicago Bar Project credits Justin's as a "great example" of the "postmodern Chicago neighborhood bar," pioneering the microbrew trend and becoming a model for other Lakeview hot spots like Sheffield's and Guthrie's Tavern.

Back in 1987, the Chicago Tribune profiled the tavern in the "up-and-coming Lakeview neighborhood" and applauded Justin's Wall of Fame, homemade food and live entertainment.

A small sampling of items that will be for sale during a Jan. 26 auction at Justin's, 3358 N. Southport Ave. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

While Salk wasn't looking to sell the corner tavern, it ended up being "pretty much the 'Godfather' scenario," he said.

"Somebody made me an offer I couldn't refuse," he told DNAinfo Chicago.

Salk said 4 Star Restaurant Group is taking over the space and plans to open what would be its 10th restaurant.

In September, the group announced plans to open Three Sisters, an upscale neighborhood restaurant and wine bar, next to its own Crosby's Kitchen.

The Chicago-based 4 Star Restaurant Group did not immediately return a request for comment.

"They're going to do a great job," Salk said.

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