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Uptown in the News  

February 25, 2004
Chicago Free Press
House postpones action on liquor license bill
By Gary Barlow, staff writer

The Illinois House of Representatives postponed action Feb. 20 on a bill by state Rep. Larry McKeon (D-Chicago) to change the state liquor license code and avert a threatened shutdown of Big Chicks.

The Uptown GLBT bar, at 5024 N. Sheridan, could lose its license if Chicago officials follow through with proceedings they began last year after discovering Big Chicks was too close to a neighborhood synagogue.

No complaints have been filed against Big Chicks by the synagogue.

City officials discovered the apparent violation after Big Chicks owner Michelle Fire tried to get a liquor license for a restaurant she opened near the bar.

McKeon's proposal would change a state law prohibiting operation of a bar within 100 feet of a church or synagogue to specify that the measurement be applied only to the main entrance of buildings. Big Chicks and Fire's restaurant would meet that standard.

McKeon was apparently three votes short of a majority in the House Feb. 20 after the bill's third reading, but said he planned to attempt to pass the measure again as early as this week.

After the postponement McKeon added two influential chief co-sponsors to the measure: state Reps. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and John Fritchey (D-Chicago). State Rep. Harry Osterman (D-Chicago) is also a chief co-sponsor.

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