Folks living in the Logan-Avondale area vividly remember the crushing news of popular bar and liquor store Crown Liquors closing its doors in April last year. It was one of the early businesses to shutter due to the pandemic, which started the cycle of sadness we’ve been stuck in: watching our favorite bars, theaters, and restaurants get uprooted. After mourning the loss of the staple that existed since the Prohibition era—a place that housed a plethora of memories, new friends, dance parties, and even networking meetings—my heart jumped at the newfound hope that we might be able to save it.
In December, I read our alderman’s newsletter with excitement: The owner of the building at 2821 N. Milwaukee has plans to reopen the bar and liquor store under the same name. While this is a blessing for the community, the previous owners of the bar aren’t involved. When it could open up is still a mystery, but I fear that the Crown Liquors we knew is not coming back. The bartenders I knew by name, the mini dance floor that didn’t make me feel too exposed, the outdoor patio that had a perfect view of the neighborhood, and the free pizza from Dante’s if you stayed late enough, it all fills me with nostalgia. I’m putting the old Crown Liquors into the history books but also looking forward to whatever “newness” the revamped bar will bring once it reopens for a fresh start on the shelves of 2021—and what that fresh start might mean for other beloved shuttered dives.