An attempt by some Lakeview residents to vote their precinct dry to effectively close a local late-night bar was overwhelmingly defeated by voters Tuesday. That will be a big sigh of relief for the owners of Tai’s Til 4 at 3611 North Ashland.
Only 37% of voters — 242 people — in the local precinct voted in favor of the referendum that would have prohibited the sale of beverages containing more than 4% alcohol for on-site consumption in the neighborhood near Ashland and Addison, according to results from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
Some residents blame the bar for altercations, including a shooting on Ashland Avenue earlier this year that involved patrons of the bar.
Local Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) opposed the resolution, telling the Chicago Tribune last week that Tai’s is “a family-run establishment that’s operated at the corner of Ashland and Addison for 60 years.”
“They did nothing wrong in this case, and they’ve been a well-run establishment for decades. I’ve got Wrigleyville in my ward. I know problem bars. I’m not naive about it. This is not one of those places,” Tunney told the paper.
On February 9, Tai’s employees called police to handle a disturbance involving two customers outside the bar. Officers separated 31-year-old Jeremy Grayson and another man and sent the two on their way. While police were still on-scene, Grayson crossed Ashland Avenue, pulled out a gun, and shot the other man in the neck and cheek.
Officers pursued Grayson onto a nearby side street, where Grayson was fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire with police.
In April, police oversight authorities released police dashcam and bodyworn camera video of the incident outside Tai’s, Grayson’s shooting of the other man, and the shoot-out police had with Grayson on Waveland Avenue.
Three days after the shooting, a woman who lives near Tai’s launched an online petition calling on the city to revoke Tai’s late hour liquor license. Over 1,000 people signed the petition, but the effort faced an uphill battle, based on the results of similar efforts that followed a deadly bar-linked shooting in Roscoe Village last November.
In that case, a bar security guard shot and killed a man on a side street following a dispute near Bluelight Bar, 3251 North Western. At a community meeting following the Bluelight shooting, city law department workers told residents that the incident “didn’t meet the threshold” for closure.
“It has to have a direct connection to the bar,” a city rep said while pointing out that successful summary closures have involved shots fired inside or into a bar.