WICKER PARK — The Crocodile Lounge, a bar and dance club from the same owner as Evil Olive, was closed for at least two weeks but has reopened, with new decor and a new focus on live music and lounging around on couches, according to a bartender.
Located at 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave., the new bar — not yet named — "soft opened quietly" this week, says bartender Ian Baker.
During a tour on Wednesday night, Baker said that the Crocodile's owner Radek Hawryszcuk is "indisposed," so Baker has taken over the running of the bar.
Hawryszcuk has not returned several requests for comment on the bars closing and re-opening.
Baker has filled the bar with several couches and tables as well as artwork by Wicker Park artist Mike Skrobinksi, who goes by the moniker MKSART.
There is still a kitchen in the back of the bar. Baker was making pizzas topped with pineapple in case anyone showed up.
"We haven't gotten the word out that we're open," Baker said, adding that the new hours are still not established but there will be live blues music in the basement this weekend.
For those hoping to find out more about Crocodile, though, calling the phone number gets a busy signal. Crocodile's last tweet promoting a music night was on Jan. 16.
The building owner of 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave. and Crocodile's landlord declined to comment on the situation but said he was "looking into it" to learn more. The landlord, who said that he has not been able to get a hold of Hawryszcuk, said that Crocodile's lease is current and paid up and that he was unaware the bar had changed concepts.
As of Jan. 1, the bar's business license is listed in "Not Good Standing" status, state records show.
To get a license back into "good standing," a business owner needs to pay a fine and in some cases the fees for "Reinstatement of an Illinois Company may be more expensive than those for dissolving an Illinois business and then creating a new Illinois company," according to a fact sheet on a business resource site.