Friday, October 22, 2010

Wild Pug To Close October 27

We're very sorry to hear that the rumors of the Pug's demise are true.  Time Out Chicago says there's no official announcement yet, but Wednesday's schedule reads "Say Good-bye To Wild Pug."

We're sad to lose a locally-owned business that has been so involved with the community.


  1. This news is very sad indeed. The staff at Pug was always super friendly and fun. I always had a good time when I hung out there.

    Brian and Steve helped me a lot with fundraisers for The Trevor Project over the past year. Their community outreach and support has literally saved lives.

    I'll be there to bid farewell...with cupcakes, of course! :)

  2. I bet the property tax and high rent played a big role in their operating expenses. Moreover, there are liquour license fees, permit fees, extra insurance policies.... We have to to make Uptown more friendly to our struggling busines neighbors!

  3. The landlord needs to have some common senses as well. In times like this, a common sense thing to do is to offer some rent credits or property tax reduction so Wild Pug could continue to fight on for a few more rounds. An empty store front does no good to anybody. I hope they have a new tenant ready to move in.

  4. Its a shame. It was a nice place although Ive only curled a couple beers there myself on one occasion. Why some watering-holes make it and some don't.....I have no idea only guesses. The owners obviously gave it all they had. The one time I was in there it was it was a friday night and it was nearly empty. That same night people were practically spilling out of the Crew bar, Green Mill, AND the Uptown Lounge.
    The property taxes, fees and the like are always a factor. However if there were more patrons buying rounds they could have "fought a few more rounds".
    Lets all hope the owners of Wild Pug come out alright and didn't lose their shirt, they've been good neighbors, not something usually said about pubs.
    The next shoe to drop on that block may be Fat Cats. It also doesn't look too busy when it should, its a risky business for sure, we need to support them or they too will fade away.
    So lets all make a point to raise a frosty glass of beer for Uptown and the good people who take a chance on investing here. (or a martini, whiskey....whatever your makes you thirsty!)

  5. The amount of fees, insurance and licenses can really do a job on you for sure when your business depends on alot of drinkers to make your money to pay the bills. Empty store fronts have and always been part of Uptown for years. My health is more important then filling my stomach with whiskey and beer so I won`t miss them at all. I would feel bad if it where Target, Aldifoods or Jewel as those would really have a big effect on our neighborhood. Not a pug which to me is only a fancy word for bar and there still are plenty of them around here anyway.

  6. What i don't understand -- with all the efforts that have been done to stop Shiller & Wilson Yards ($50,000 for alawsuit), why couldn't "the community" save this business.

    If it's locally owned and involved with "the community", why couldn't "the community"'s communication sources be used to promote the business.

    Have any of the aldermanic candidates had any rallies or meetings there? How about the Uptown CHicago Commission?

    Andy is right about the foolishness of some building owners...the same thing with the Uptown Snack Shop...had they simply renewed the lease, the whole building wouldn't have sat in disrepair over all these years -- they would have had money to finish the remodeling!

  7. A lot of investors are losing their shirt in the Pug closing.

    It's a combination of bad timing in terms of opening, bad idea and thinking because you have a hit with Crew Pug would be a success too.

    Dumb idea to compete directly with yourself as well.

  8. Easily my favorite hangout in Uptown. I will be very sad to see it close.

  9. Yay! There it is! The inevitable response from JP Paulus about the Uptown Snack Shop! I win. Drinks all around.

    JP, it's gone, it ain't coming back. Live with it. In Chatham.

    (Dare I go for double or nothing? Will he bring up the famous bookmarks that so offended him three election cycles ago?)

    As far as the candidates supporting the Wild Pug, if you lived here, JP, you'd know that it's in the 48th Ward and you'll have to ask Harry Osterman and Phil Bernstein why they didn't hold events there.

    Truman Square Neighbors, the block club that sprung up after you left (and shall we get into your destroying the previous one with your buddies?)) has held events at the Wild Pug, as did WAMA when it existed. And one or both of the owners of the Wild Pug and Crew were on the board of the UCC, so yeah, I imagine UCC supported it.

    JP, you're such a poseur, pretending to know what you're talking about and pointing fingers about a business that opened LONG LONG after you decided to get out of Uptown. You know NOTHING about Uptown in this millennium and just prove it every time you pretend to be an expert.

  10. Now that i think about's ironic that just a short time ago, it, people wanted to shut down the Wooden Nickel. But the same type of customer (someone who wants to drink quite a bit of alcohol) was needed to keep the Wild Pug alive.


    Why would being in the 48th ward stop the UCC from promoting the business (since it is still in Uptown).


    Feel free to give me a call if you really have a problem with me. Stop hiding behind your anonymous handle.

    If you 're a Truman Square neighbor, share with the UU community about what people at 4640 , the Habitat Homes, or the Catholic Worker house feel about this, or really the question being asked in the "Good Question" entry from a few days ago.

    If i am so out of touch with the neighborhood, show me up by telling the internet community what your other neighbors think about such issues. They aren't all SHilleristas.

  11. @Andy
    Suellen Long is the landlord of the building housing Wild Pug. Wrap your head around that for a moment =)

  12. As a fellow small business owner I can completely sympathize with the situation . After being in business for over 30 years my business is struggling as well , as are small businesses all across the city. I realize that the economy is a big part of it, but the city also is playing a huge part. Up until 10 years ago, there were no meters near my business. Now there is nothing but metered parking at $1.25 an hour (going to $1.50 in January). Since the meters went up, we have lost nearly 40% of our members as most people come in for at least an hour or more , and if you can’t find parking on the side streets , that starts to add up in a hurry. We used to have a lot of lifters come in on the weekends from out of the city , but that has been cut back because it is really difficult to find parking off Clark on the weekends .The city also wants to get every dollar they can , so they are now pursuing every avenue of revenue they can think of . After having an A-frame sign outside my business for over thirty years , I have now been fined a total of $720 in the last year for my “illegal” sign. Needless to say , the sign is no longer out which definitely hurts my businesses exposure. I have also received two $150 parking tickets for parking in front of the loading dock for my business to unload things. I have been a resident of the city and the neighborhood my entire life , and I really don’t see things getting better.
    As a juvenile court probation officer who works the Uptown area I find it fairly ironic that you can sell drugs on the corner without much problem, but if you’re a business owner you’re in trouble.

  13. I'm shocked...SHOCKED, I tell you. After the millions of taxpayer dollard that Pter, Helen, and Bridgeport Bank have received to support business development in Uptown (that is the purpose of TIF as I understand it)... and we were assured Wilson Yard was going to provide the "critical mass" (probably all the expendable income the new residents would bring to the community)... this business couldn't survive.

    PS: Anyone who thinks the clientele of Wilde Pug and Wooden Nickle are similar would argue that Saturn and Earth are similar.

  14. No, JP, I'm not going to dance for you and conduct surveys amongst my neighbors to prove some bizarre point that's important to you.

    I've visited friends of friends at 4640 (sadly, one family I know was evicted for selling narcotics), I know my neighbors at Habitat, and I know my neighbors in the two scattered site buildings in Truman Square. In fact, I know children who live there who weren't even born when you left Uptown! I even know some of the people who live in your old building.

    You want to know how they feel about the Wild Pug closing? Come back up to your old neighborhood and ask them.

    Yes, I post anonymously. See, that's because I criticize Ald. Shiller and I don't want city inspectors at my house. That's what she does, you know.

    JPP, you need to start reading for comprehension. You're getting confused in your fury.

    I said: Brian Wells used to be on the board of UCC, so I'm fairly certain UCC has supported both the Wild Pug and Crew.

    You asked why the CANDIDATES weren't supporting it, and I answered that it's up to the 48th Ward candidates to support a business in their ward.

    I'm done with this conversation, now. And I'm proud of you for not bringing up Katharine Nathan or the bookmarks. Good job!

  15. with all the efforts that have been done to stop Shiller & Wilson Yards ($50,000 for alawsuit), why couldn't "the community" save this business.

    Couldn't ..., or didn't?

    Big difference.

    The owners of the Pug willingly took on risk to open their establishment and, as risk implies, failed to garner the support of the community (for better/worse)

    As a result, the Pug(unfortunately) died on the vine, and on the immediate level, the owners will foot the bill for that failure.

    They did not inherently force their risk upon the community.

    In fact, they requested support from the community in the form of investors which, apparently, fell victim to the desire of the community to respond.

    The same dynamic certainly does not exist when discussing WY(s).

    The result there being that the community (or a portion thereof - but possibly the same community who might rally for the Pug) felt compelled to file suit to ensure that their concerns were heard since, ultimately, the entire community would be forced to accept the responsibilty of the risk.

    (Note: there's risk in any venture - I'm not serving opinion on the concept of WY[s]).

    You're attempting to guilt people into sifting through and providing a logical response to an illogical apples/oranges premise that anyone with even a low level understanding of market dynamics would laugh at.

  16. I've been there a couple of times, but the problem is not the cost of doing business. The Pug had a weird layout, it wasn't so much a pub as it was a big open, awkward space, with bad DJ's blasting music over a bad sound system. If you sat in the booths you were a football field away from the bar, with nothing in between. It seemed like a vacuous space that could have been filled with 4 top tables and had a robust gastro pub menu. I suggested this when I went in and talked to the staff about how to get more customers. It seemed like a poorly planned use of space, and I didn't get the concept..dancefloor? pub? sports bar? DJ?

  17. How funny, people talk about Brian and Steve like they were such good guys. They never communicated with their investors. They tried to cut deals to keep the bar open and keep their ownership, while virtually wiping out everything invested and lent to them. They were rarely in the bar and left other people to work it. They treated their staff poorly, were not particularly friendly to customers when they were in the bar unless it was one of their friends and they ignored opportunities to improve certain nights because they didn't want to compete with the specials and events they were running at Crew. It is sad for the investors but Steve and Brian got what they deserved.

  18. Comparing this bar to the Wooden Nickel is disingenuous. The amount of violence associated with the Nickel of Wood was mindboggling. Knifings, gunfire, and general all around mayhem. Now like any establishment selling alcohol I'm sure the Pug had a few incidents, but nothing to compare to the daily round of mayhem that was the bad nickel.

    It seems to me that the PUG may just have been one gay bar too many in that stretch of Broadway. Maybe one bar too many.

    It's unfortunate because that stretch could have partially been a saner version of Boys Town for a more mature crowd.

    As for Fat Cat they seem to do well to me. When I go by on a weekend night the place seems to be hopping.

    Now about those anti Shiller bookmarks from 1999 or 2003?


  19. JP, dude. You don't live here anymore. Let It Go and get on with your life.

  20. Well broadway and wilson
    sure could use a nice business like this,

    Just way too many drinking establishments in one area.

    Bad location,

  21. TSN, I am glad you know your neighbors around you. I hop ean dpray your other neighbors will follow your example, and be a positive influence on them, so that they can be productive citizens.

    Certain people, such as Ald. Shiller, may (or may not) magnify the situaiton, but ultimately each person is responsible for whther or not they care about their neighbor, especially one with different views and values.

    Helen Shiller, nor any other leader, has forced anyone to not care about other people, and try to understand them.

    What we do & care about (or not care about influences others). I asked about the aldermanic candidates, becuase the UPTOWN Chicgao Commission covers both wards, so an organiazation claiming to serve Uptown shouldn't be bound by political lines that change every so often.

    People all over the city are affected by who is kept or rejected in Uptown.

  22. I want the "E" from Wilde.
    Too bad those pricks were going to sue The Pug over an "E"- guess they were doomed form the start.
    I'm not a gay man- but I did enjoy this place, great drinks!!
    Well Lets hope another Irish Pub goes in there.
    HA HA.

  23. According to a very reliable source, someone has already agreed to lease the space for another bar or restuarant. Let's hope that it fares better.

    And JP, you're ridiculous.

  24. Hm.

    Wonder what sort of connection there might be between the UCC and the 46th aldermanic candidates which might garner such a critical review of both?

    Wait. Wait. Don't tell me ...