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UPTOWN CHICAGO COMMISSION

Uptown in the News  

January 16, 2004
Chicago Tribune
Gays, straights agree: Bar worth fighting for
By James Janega, Tribune staff reporter


Thousands of people have signed petitions to try and save Big Chicks, an Uptown gay bar. State and city law prohibits taverns within 100-feet of schools, hospitals and houses of worship.

Last summer, Big Chick's owner, Michelle Fire, opened a restaurant in an adjoining storefront at 5020 N. Sheridan Rd. When she applied for an incidental liquor license to sell wine and beer with meals, a city inspector discovered the technicality that a synagogue shared an alley with Big Chicks, which has operated for decades without anyone noticing the violation. Though the building's main entrance is at 5029 N. Kenmore Ave., it shares an alley with Tweet and Big Chicks.

Activists from across Uptown's political spectrum have spent months flooding phone lines and sending e-mails to State Representative Larry McKeon as well as the two aldermen (MaryAnn Smith and Helen Shiller) whose wards bisect Uptown, in order to keep the bar open.


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