Petitioners target Lakeview bar after weekend shooting

Tai’s Til 4 is a late-hours bar at 3611 North Ashland. | Google

Some Lakeview residents are calling on the city to revoke its late hour liquor license for Tai’s Til 4, a bar that police connected to a shooting over the weekend. But the concerned neighbors may be fighting an uphill battle, based on the results of similar efforts that followed a bar-linked shooting in Roscoe Village last November.

Around 5:15 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a battery in progress on the 3600 block of North Ashland. The situation turned violent when 31-year-old Jeremy Grayson shot another man in the neck and cheek nearby, police said.

Officers fatally shot Grayson minutes later after he opened fire on pursuing cops in the 1600 block of West Waveland, according to a police department statement.

Interim Chicago Police Supt. Charlie Beck said the initial disturbance took place outside of Tai’s, which closes at 5 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Now, an online petition is circulating.

“Tai’s Til 4 has been associated with dangerous activity including rape charges, domestic disturbance and violence calls as well as three shootings since 2012,” alleged petition organizer Kate K. 

“The late night…hours of operation attract problematic and often violent patrons and it is clear that the bar causes more harm and unnecessary danger not only to their patrons of the establishment but also to the Lake View community.”

“At the very least,” she wrote, “Tai’s Til 4’s late night license must be revoked to put the safety of their patrons and the neighboring community first.”  

Over 600 people signed Kate’s petition as of midday Wednesday.

According to the city’s police report database, only one crime was reported at any bar or tavern on Tai’s block last year — a theft at 3:45 a.m. on July 28. 

Police did respond to a shots fired incident outside the bar around 4 a.m. on Aug. 24, 2019, CWBChicago reported at the time. Officers found several shell casings outside a salon next door to Tai’s, but no one was shot and no police report was ever filed.

Tai’s address is listed as the location of nine crimes since January 2014: Three batteries; five thefts; and one assault. It is not possible to know from data if any nearby crimes have been linked to the bar.

High hurdle

The concerns expressed by Tai’s neighbors and in Kate K’s petition are similar to complaints aired by neighbors of the Bluelight Bar, 3251 North Western, after one of that tavern’s security guards fatally shot a man near the business on Nov. 3.

Ald. Scott Waguespack, who represents the area around Bluelight, publicly called for the police department to close the bar under the city’s summary closure law and to revoke the operation’s license.

But he and his constituents quickly learned that holding a bar responsible for what happens outside its doors is very difficult in Chicago.

Representatives from the city’s law department told a packed community meeting that the Bluelight shooting “didn’t meet the threshold” of summary closure.

Wrongdoing “has to have a direct connection to the bar,” law department rep Kim Roberts told the crowd. She said successful bar closures have resulted when shots were fired inside or into a business. But not when the shootings have happened nearby.

Many residents at the Bluelight meeting expressed disbelieve when 19th District Police Commander Chris Papaioannou said police had received fewer than 20 calls for service near the bar in recent years.

“It’s more important to get our children back to sleep” than to deal with unproductive calls to 911, one woman countered.

Some neighbors of Tai’s may be feeling the same way.