EAST VILLAGE — Beloved neighborhood dive Happy Village, known for its serene back patio and indoor rec room, is for sale.
Located at 1059 N. Wolcott Ave., the bar was founded by owner Cherlyn Pilch's parents in 1964 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014.
Happy Village's history as a saloon dates to the mid 1890s and at one point the spot was a grocery store.
Lucky's Sandwiches is in early talks with bar owners about a takeover that would keep the laid back spot as-is, but a longstanding liquor moratorium on Wolcott will add a few hurdles.
The East Village Association, which has held its meetings at Happy Village for years, said the liquor moratorium would need to be lifted in order for the owners to transfer their tavern license to new barkeeps.
The association's board of directors is set to meet with the owners of Lucky's Sandwiches on Aug. 8, but a solution to the liquor moratorium will be addressed as soon as Wednesday's City Council meeting.
There, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) is set to introduce an ordinance allowing for additional liquor sales on "a portion of Wolcott Avenue."
Hopkins said on Tuesday that he has a commitment from the new owners "that they will keep Happy Village exactly as it is today, as it's been for years."
Hopkins said he plans to lift the moratorium to allow the sale, so Pilch can "enjoy a well deserved retirement."
"Her bar has contributed much to the community over the years. She has always been a responsible bar owner. The new owners pledge to continue in that manner," Hopkins said.
A spokesman for Lucky's Sandwiches said on Tuesday that "nothing has been signed."
"Parties are talking. It's just a possible deal," the spokesman said, adding that the talks have been going on for at least a few months.
"Right now, Happy Village cannot be sold until the moratorium is lifted," he said.
But for fans concerned that Happy Village could become another sandwich shop, the Wrigleyville-based Lucky's Sandwiches has no plans to change Happy Village.
"If it does get taken over, nothing would change. If a deal were to be struck, nothing — the name, the atmosphere, the feel — would be changed. [Happy Village] is part of the neighborhood and we would maintain what it has been," he said.
Lucky's Sandwich Co., a Pittsburgh-style sandwich shop and sports bar which rose to local fame after appearing on "Man v. Food," will close its Wicker Park location later this month.
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