Thursday, December 26, 2013

34 Months Later, "Drink & Ink" Begins Construction

Remember when Chicago was "The City That Works"?  It's been a long time since that phrase was accurate.  Case in point, the saga of "Drink & Ink," an upcoming new watering hole at 4443 N Broadway.

Way back in March 2011, Paul Collurafici of the Tattoo Factory posted a public notice on the empty storefront next to his business proposing a tavern for that space.  It seemed like a slam-dunk:  a long-established Chicago business with the same owner right next door; one that had never had problems with the community; one that was frequented by cops; an owner who was the president of the local chamber of commerce; the full support of the then- and current aldermen; and zoning permits handled by the well-connected law firm of James Banks, which nearly always gets approval.

But it was anything but a slam dunk.  Red tape proliferated, including objections from a church down the street that itself held services in a storefront not zoned for a place of worship.  In March 2012, Eater Chicago wrote about the "bar about nothing" and noted it would be opening soon "if all goes well with the city."  Nope, more red tape was spun.  One city entity would give its approval, then rescind it, and then approve it all over again.

But now, nearly three years after we first wrote about this proposed bar, construction has started.  Paul Collurafici says it was 34 months between the time the first application was filed and the time the first hammer hit the drywall.

It will be months before "Drink & Ink" (named for one of UU's posts about it) opens to the public.  But it looks like it's finally happening.  You can follow the progress on its Facebook page.  We salute "Tattoo Paul" for his persistence!

One less empty storefront.  One more business added to the tax rolls.  Employment for a few more Chicagoans.  You'd think a city that needs revenue -- desperately -- would make it easy on local folks trying to open their own places.  It's the American Dream!  But Chicago makes it difficult, and in this case, nearly impossible.

When you see a place that says it's going to open on such-and-such a date, notice that it's nearly always long after that that the business actually opens.  It's not because the owners are lazy or hesitant to get paying customers through the front door.  It's because Chicago is far from The City That Works these days.  More like, The City of Quirks.


  1. I've been interested in getting some work done. This may be the place. Now, if they opened up a Brew-Pub with some vegan options. . .

  2. Paul is easily one of the nicest, most humble and valuable staples in Chicago and particularly of the uptown community. I'm happy to see this happening.