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Former Schlitz Taverns Up For Landmark Status

The City Council is considering landmark status for eight current and former Chicago bars that feature a relief of a Schlitz beer globe prominently on their facades.

The City Council Landmarks Division on Thursday was scheduled to vote on preliminary landmark recommendations for the former "brewery-tied houses." When they first opened, they all operated under the rule that only Schlitz beer could be sold on the premises, architecture critic Lee Bey explained in his blog.

The "tied house" system was blamed for a proliferation of drinking establishments in the city in the years before Prohibition, and the federal government outlawed tied houses after Prohibition was repealed, Bey reported.

But the stately old signs remain at many of the old taverns, some of which still operate as bars today.

The former Schlitz tied houses up for consideration for landmark status are:

--1801 W. Division St. in Wicker Park, now Mac's American Pub;
--11400 S. Front Ave. in Roseland;
--3456 S. Western Ave. in Brighton Park, now One Stop Food and Liquors;
--958 W. 69th St. in Englewood, most recently Caribbean Bar;
--2159 W. Belmont Ave. in Roscoe Village, now a Starbucks Coffee;
--1944 N. Oakley Ave. in Bucktown, now Floyd's Pub;
--3159 N. Southport Ave. in Lakeview, now Schuba's Tavern;
--5120 N. Broadway in Uptown, now the South-East Asia Center.

Also up for landmark status is the former Schlitz stable at 11314 S. Front Ave., which now houses Argus Brewery.

As Bey points out, not all the old Schlitz tied houses are up for landmark status. According to the Web site Forgotten Chicago, there are at least 20 former taverns with the Schlitz globes still standing around the city. Among the ones not up for landmark status are Southport Lanes and Billiards, at 3325 N. Southport Ave., and a prominent building at 2000 W. Armitage Ave. that now houses medical offices.

While most of the former tied houses in Chicago were linked to Schlitz, several others were tied to a number of other breweries and labels, including Blatz, Miller and Atlas, and the long-defunct Birk Bros., Stege and Peter Hand, according to Forgotten Chicago.

Also scheduled for the Thursday meeting was an announcement of landmark designation for the old Shoreland Hotel, at 5454 S. Shore Dr. in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The 84-year-old building was a stopping point for Amelia Earhart, Al Capone and Elvis Presley, among other notables. It later served as a University of Chicago undergraduate dorm, until the university sold it two years ago for a conversion into apartments.

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