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Hard Water Bar & Grill Facing City Hall After 'Unacceptable' Complaints

By Linze Rice | May 18, 2016 5:51am
 Hard Water Bar & Grill in Rogers Park is in trouble with the city after it was found the establishment was operating outside its licenses and were allowing customers to become
Hard Water Bar & Grill in Rogers Park is in trouble with the city after it was found the establishment was operating outside its licenses and were allowing customers to become "unruly."
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ROGERS PARK — Hard Water Bar & Grill in Rogers Park is set to face City Hall next week after the city said it received numerous complaints, including temporarily operating without the proper license and "unruly" customer behavior.

A May 4 notice addressed to 49th Ward residents from the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection's Liquor Control Commission summoned community members to a May 24 meeting Downtown "to seek and discuss potential resolutions of problems identified in citizen complaints."

Mika Stambaugh, a spokeswoman for the business affairs department, said her office had heard from residents, police and Ald. Joe Moore (49th) about problems at the 7545 N. Clark St. bar. Moore could not immediately comment.

The city began investigating Hard Water earlier this year when they found the bar and restaurant had been operating outside of its licenses, which were obtained April 27, Stambaugh said.

City records show the establishment's outdoor patio license was at one point canceled during its term, but renewed on April 27.

She said her office is now monitoring the business to make sure it stays good to licensing requirements.

Complaints also included after-hours events that let patrons drink past the allowable 4 a.m., noise and "unruly behavior," and failure to comply with late-night safety plans outside the bar, Stambaugh said.

"These types of complaints are unacceptable in Chicago’s neighborhoods," Stambaugh said. "Starting this month the department is hosting community meetings to find an amicable solution for Hard Water Bar and Grill’s neighbors that will prevent these problems in the future."

Police in the Rogers Park District said they were "aware of numerous complaints and calls for service" and had issued the business several tickets in the past. Like Stambaugh, police said they were continuing to keep an eye on the business.

But some disagree with the notion the bar is a problem.

Bill Morton, president of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, said he dines at Hard Water at least twice a week and his organization regularly hold events at the space. He didn't think of the bar as being unsafe, he said.

As for complaints, Morton said he guessed it was only one resident who lived nearby that was responsible for the majority.

Hard Water, which includes a restaurant and eating space, is open until 4 a.m. Sunday-Friday and 5 a.m. on Saturdays.

"You should know what you're getting into when you live above a bar and a grill," Morton said. "This place has been a bar and grill for many incarnations ... and it's only one person, he's making a big stink out of it."

Hard Water replaced Rolland's at its Chicago-Evanston border spot in 2014. Morton said though the business is a bar, it's also got a great menu.

Morton described owner Amit Diamond and Devon Kelly, an events planner by trade who manages the bar, as a "power team" who provide a safe space for neighborhood kids to "eat pizza and drink sodas" on Thursday nights.

Neither could be reached for comment.

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