Vice District’s Michigan Avenue Brewpub Facing Eviction

In Beer News, Beer Reviews by Karl

After seeing a few reports circulating via Facebook, we’ve confirmed that Cook County has served the Vice District Brewing brewpub on Michigan Avenue with an eviction notice overnight:

Vice District eviction notice
Photo via the Chicagoland Craft Brewing Enthusiasts Facebook Group.

According to public documents, we can report the following:

The building’s owner, 1454 S Michigan LLC filed a joint-action complaint on March 1 against Vice District, Quintin Cole and Curtis Tarver II, seeking $114,289.03. On April 2, Cook County Judge Sondra Nicole Denmark approved an order of possession, prompting the Cook County Sheriff to carry out the eviction. The next court date is set for May 13.

That’s one of three civil complaints filed against Vice District since 2016, according to Cook County court records. Sign-A-Rama sought $4,090 in unpaid bills in 2016, while 1464 S Michigan filed a declaratory judgment against 1454 S Michigan and Vice District In January 2017, which remains pending.

Compounding the legal woes are additional internal issues: records show that in June 2018, co-founder Quintin Cole sued Tarver and Vice District, among others. That case was settled recently, in March 2019.

Vice District first opened in August 2014 and was the first brewery to set up shop in the South Loop, followed in January 2015 by Motor Row Brewing just down the street. They announced a planned expansion into a larger production facility in south suburban Homewood, which opened less than a year ago in August 2018.

The Homewood facility has had its own series of troubles — starting with a water line issue that required intervention from the Illinois Department of Transportation and excavation under Dixie Highway to fix. More recently, the city of Homewood temporarily closed the space in October, due to code violations related to plumbing and fire suppression issues.

The Homewood Flossmoor Journal quoted Tarver at the time saying that issues at the new facility’s taproom were to blame. “We are a small business. These types of things cripple us. On the heels of two terrible months revenue-wise it really is harmful to our business. We are only experiencing these types of issues because we agreed to provide a taproom.”

In the Chicagoland brewing landscape, any eviction would be notable in and of itself, given that the metro region has seen few closings in the past year and (to our knowledge) zero breweries evicted from their space. It’s made even more notable due to the fact that co-founder Curtis Tarver was also recently elected as the State Representative for Illinois’ 25th District.

Tarver ran on a platform including his small business experience, citing Vice District specifically. The Chicago Tribune also endorsed Tarver noting that his “private sector experience would be a welcome addition on the Democratic side of the aisle.”

We’ve reached out to Vice District as well as Tarver’s governmental team for additional info or a statement. This post will be updated if we receive any further information.

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Karl

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Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers.If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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