Chicago Tonight on WTTW: Restorations and Revelations at a Far South Side Tavern Headed For City Landmark Status

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Schlitz Brewery-Tied House, by architect Charles Thisslew in 1907, located at 9401 S. Ewing Avenue. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Schlitz Brewery-Tied House, by architect Charles Thisslew in 1907, located at 9401 S. Ewing Avenue. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Schlitz Brewery-Tied House, by architect Charles Thisslew in 1907, located at 9401 S. Ewing Avenue. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

On June 4, 2020, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted to award preliminary Landmark designation to the former Schlitz Brewery-Tied House located at 9401 S. Ewing Avenue in Chicago’s East Side community. If approved by Chicago City Council, it would become the 10th Tied House Landmark in Chicago. Preservation Chicago applauds the owner Mike and Laura Medina who plans a preservation-oriented restoration and use as a tavern, and 10th Ward Alderman Susan Garza for her strong support. Preservation Chicago presented in support of the designation to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks on June 4, 2020 and is thrilled with this outcome.

“A long-running tavern in Chicago’s East Side neighborhood is heading for landmark status with the city. It’s a bar that’s lived a lot of lives, and its new owners see it as an important piece of a tight-knit, but much-changed community.

“Before Mike and Laura Medina bought the bar at 94th Street and Ewing on the Far South Side, the building went through many incarnations. It was built in 1907.

“‘This is one of about 60 ‘tied houses’ that Schlitz brewing company built as a way to have a place to exclusively sell their beer,’ Mike Medina said. After prohibition, tied houses were regulated out of existence. But some of them, including this one, kept going as privately-owned bars.

“Since they bought the building last year, the Medinas have found and been given artifacts from the bar’s history, like an old telephone a neighbor saved when the bar was cleared out; a box of foreign currency, likely from the crews of foreign ships that passed by; and a “rooms for rent” sign and ring of skeleton keys from the largely-untouched rooming house on the building’s second floor.

“‘On top of the ephemera we’ve found, it’s just the originality of the building,” Medina said. “They never gutted anything, never modernized it to a point where you couldn’t get a sense of what it used to look like, which is really cool. There’s a lot to this place that we keep discovering.’

“When Schlitz built a tied house, they weren’t shy about it – there’s a giant logo carved right into the facade. For most of its existence, the building also had a gorgeous stained glass window featuring the Schlitz logo and an ornate design. It was removed sometime before the Medinas purchased this property.

“‘We’ve been trying to track down who has it to approach them and see if they’re willing to part with it, because we feel it belongs (here),’ Medina said. In the meantime, the Medinas were put in touch with a stained glass artist who had been given the original blueprint for the window.

“‘There’s a lot of neighbors around here that have very good memories of this building, the people in it, the times they had here. That’s not disposable,” Medina said. “It’s no less significant just because it’s at 94th Street and Ewing than it is if it was on maybe a more prosperous side of town.’

“The Medinas hope to reopen the bar, which they’re calling the East Side Tap, sometime next year. Once it’s approved by the City Council, the building will join nine other former Schlitz properties as Chicago landmarks.” (Blumberg, 7/16/20)

Watch the full story at Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Restorations and Revelations at a Far South Side Tavern Headed For City Landmark Status, Nick Blumberg, Chicago Tonight on WTTW Chicago, 7/16/20

The Bamboo Lounge, Eric Allix Rogers, Chicago Patterns, 2/15/17 (Photos and history)

Tied Houses, Serhii Chrucky, Forgotten Chicago, 1/11/2009

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