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Special Update: Pharmacy

In my Nightspotting column in the April issue of Chicago, I profiled Pharmacy (1450 W. Chicago Ave.), the new rock lounge that was aiming for a March launch.

Unfortunately for us lounge lizards, the bar has yet to open, due to a delay in obtaining a liquor license. After being turned down by the Local Liquor Control amid complaints over the addition of another bar to the neighborhood, Pharmacy’s owners took their case to the License Appeals Commission. Their March 21st court date, however, was postponed, further pushing back the opening.

“The City of Chicago told us there would be a continuance because one of the people on the three-person committee would not be available for the hearing,” David Lehtman, one of Pharmacy’s owners, told me.

Pharmacy has passed every other inspection; the only delay is the outstanding liquor license. “We applied for a tavern license because we didn’t want to misrepresent ourselves to the neighborhood or the city,” Lehtman says. “We could have applied for an Incidental License, but we’re not a full-service restaurant. We serve burgers, fries and milkshakes, which is part of the whole nostalgic feel of our concept.”

Obtaining a liquor license has been a common holdup for Chicago bars. Sound-Bar (226 W. Ontario St.) and Pharmacy neighbor Five Star (1424 W. Chicago Ave.) endured considerable waits before receiving their licenses, and State Restaurant and Café (935 W. Webster Ave.) still operates as a BYOB after about a year in business.

Stay tuned: The appeals hearing has been rescheduled for May 1st.

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