I invite you to attend a community meeting to review a proposal for a microbrewery at 1617 W. Howard. The meeting will be held this Wednesday, February 6th, 7:00 p.m., in the proposed microbrewery location.
The proposal requires a Special Use Permit from the City of Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals and a tavern license from the City’s Local Liquor Control Commissioner.
The microbrewery, known as the Howard Street Brewing Company, would be located in the empty storefront that sits between Sol Cafe and the Factory Theater (see photo on right). The aspiring owner, Ryan “Chuck” Patella, has been homebrewing for ten years and would like to establish a small 26-seat venue where his customers can sample his products.
Mr. Patella has maintained a longtime relationship with the Factory, located immediately to the west of his proposed store. His wife is a Factory Theater member and has written a play for the theater’s 2019 season. To help with their events, Mr. Patella has brewed and served over 1,000 pints of beer.
When presented with the idea of opening a microbrewery next to the Factory, it seemed to Mr. Patella to be a natural fit given their history together.
The proposed microbrewery layout is displayed below:
The large windows that enclose the space at the front will remain untouched and uncluttered. A six-top table and a four-top table will line the windows. Two additional tables and bar seats will bring the seating capacity to 26 people.
The brewing equipment will be located on the west wall of the room with open space for customers to observe the brewing process.
A custom bar will be designed and built by an expert craftsman and welder who has worked for many Chicago theater companies and local businesses. The bar will be the focus of the brewery with tap handles displayed prominently at the center of the back bar.
Where available, exposed brick will line the walls. A polished concrete floor will reflect the manufacturing elements of beer making, and the ceilings will be open and pipework exposed for a more industrial feel.
During the day, the windows will provide ambient daylight. During the evening, warm lights will hang above the bar, while other strategically placed lights will offer a modern tavern feel in a conversation-inspired environment.
Audio speakers will be installed in the ceilings, providing the tavern’s ambiance. Music selections will be controlled by staff and management. To encourage socializing among patrons, no jukebox or TV will be present.
The property is zoned B3, which allows for a tavern as a “special use” so long as it is not within 400 feet of another tavern. Accordingly, Mr. Patella needs to apply to the City of Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals for a Special Use Permit. The opinion of the local alderman and the community may influence the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision, but the Board retains final authority over whether the special use permit will be granted.
Obtaining a special use permit does not automatically entitle the owners to a tavern license; it simply gives them the right to apply for a license. The owners still must satisfy the City’s criteria for a liquor license and their application is subject to the approval of the City of Chicago’s Local Liquor Control Commissioner. Similar to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the opinion of the local alderman and the community may influence the Commissioner’s decision, but the Commissioner retains final authority over whether the license will be issued.
The Liquor Control Commissioner may at her discretion require the applicant sign a legally binding “Liquor License Plan of Operation,” which places various conditions on the license. Any violation of the agreement may result in the imposition of a fine or a suspension or revocation of the license.
I urge you to attend the meeting to offer your opinions and suggestions regarding the proposed new microbrewery. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please share your thoughts with me by replying to this email.