InnJoy's Late Night Liquor License application ignites controversey througout Moreno's 1st Ward


Julie Dickinson at the Nov. 8 event

As neighbors and other community members learn that InnJoy, 2051 W. Division St., submitted their application for a Late Night Liquor License to the Liquor Commission, many are expressing their disappointment and shock.

Julie Dickinson, who lives within 500 feet of the bar said, "I am disappointed. They called neighbors in to get their feedback and the response was overwhelmingly negative. Their going ahead with the application makes me feel that they were not truly looking for neighbor feedback.

"InnJoy is too close to residences to have this license. If there are to be more 4 a.m. licenses they should be where there is less residential, such as at Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues." Late night licenses extend the hours for serving alchol from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Saturday morning and 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.

"I am very disappointed to hear InnJoy is proceeding with a 4 a.m. license. I attended both meetings and was under the impression the alderman was not going to sign off on this license. I have sent a letter to the liquor commission," said Damon Lawson, another neighbor.


Scott Rappe expresses his oppinion on Late Night Licenses

"I'm a neighbor residing at 2000 block of W. Haddon. I'm concerned that the late night liquor license is going to affect the neighborhood in a negative way. I've spoken to people who have lived around late night bars, and I didn't get any positive feedback," says Sarah Wielusz. "Aside from muggers having plenty more drunks to prey upon... I don't look forward to loud drunks, couples fighting, sidewalk vomiting, alley/lawn urination, etc. "

Jacquelyn Hathaway, bar owner, and her property owner brother, Joseph hosted a neighborhood gathering at the bar on Nov. 28 to meet and explain their position for wanting a 4 a.m. license to the community. There was confusion by some of the invitees as they thought that it was a legal notice or a meeting called by 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno. Neither was true.


Joe Moreno and Neal McKnight

In fact Moreno backs the neighbors in not supporting the application. "I'm actually considering a moratorium on late night liquor licenses throughout the Ward," Moreno commented. That concept is supported by the East Village Association's (EVA) President, Neal McKnight. "I think that there should be a moratorium on late night liquor licenses ward-wide but at the very least for Division St."

"It is crazy to have 4 a.m. licenses on a business street with residential all around us. No good can come of a license that goes that late at night. People come out of the bars and they are disruptive, damage property and it is unsafe for them in an inebriated state," says Scott Rappe also part of EVA.

Anne Shaw talks about safety at the Jan. 9 meeting

On Jan. 9, there was another event in InnJoy organized by Anne Shaw and Greg Hernandez. It was focused on safety because of the various incidents in the area. Sgt. Juan Clas; other police officers from the 12th Police District; Steve Niketopoulos from the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Watch; in addition to others spoke about safety. While InnJoy was happy to host it, Shaw explained that InnJoy and their interest for a late night liquor license had anything to do with the evening.


Greg Hernandez at the January meeting

Hernandez is friends with the Hathaways and was involved in getting signatures on the petitions in support of InnJoy's efforts. However, both Hernandez and Shaw indicate it has nothing to do with the focus or operations of  the Chicago Democratic Alliance (CDA). Established on the premise that there are not enough progressive democrats, Shaw explains, "CDA is to support candidates in the future. We have nothing to do with individual businesses."

"Unfortunately no one can make everyone happy," says Jacquelyn Hathaway. "Though there were maybe 12 people or so at the meeting (Nov. 28) who opposed the new license, we received more than enough qualified people on our petitions.

"We support the community in many ways. We have family who live, work and own property in the area. We hope that we can add to our business with the new license but it is in the hands of the city."

As explained by Jen Lipford of the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department, "Once the application is submitted, the signatures must be verified." According to Moreno, that is a very rigorous verification process.

Lipford went on to explain that signature verification is just the beginning of the process. The Commission wants input from the community, local organizations, the alderman and the police department. Thus, anyone who is for or against this or any other Late Night Liquor License applicant should put their interests in a letter that is sent to the Liquor Commissioner Gregory Steadman, Commissioner Rosemary Krimbel of the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, the alderman (in this case, Moreno) and the Police Commander (in this case Melissa Staples in the 12th District).




I’ve been a long-time supporter of Proco, but must confess I’m confused by his inconsistent position regarding late night liquor licenses. Alderman, just a short time ago, you went to bat for The Shambles (formerly JunBar), helping them secure a late night license over public opposition. Why does the bar across the street get to cash in on the late-night crowd while Inn Joy turns out the lights? Please tell me you have a reason for the inconsistency. Please tell me it was more than Shambles owner Joe Lin’s $4,000 contribution to your coffers. ( Consistency please. Either give Inn Joy the license given to their neighbor or take away that of The Shambles. Businesses should not be subject to aldermanic fiat.

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