South Side battle for East 75th Street sees residents win City Council crackdown on bars blamed for chaos

Chicago city officials have heard residents of the area around East 75th Street loud and clear.

For a year, people who live near the bars along six blocks of 75th Street east of the Dan Ryan Expressway in Greater Grand Crossing have complained to the city’s Liquor Control Commission that the saloons they contribute to the violence, noise and litter in the historic black commercial strip. on the South Side.

Now, in the last month, three bars have signed agreements with the City Council that require them to:

  • Maintain 24-hour video surveillance.
  • Hire at least one guard who wears “security” clothing and stays an hour after closing time to scare away crowds that gather outside the establishments.
  • Report criminal activity and noise to the police.
  • Clean up trash left in the nearby public right-of-way.
  • And those with outdoor patios can’t play music there.

The bars, which face the prospect of losing their business licenses if they don’t comply with those “corrective action plans,” are President’s Lounge, 653 E. 75th St., Frances Cocktail Lounge, 307 E. 75th St., and 606 The Lounge , 606 E. 75th St., which requires hiring two guards: one man and one woman.

President's Room, 653 E. 75th St.

President’s Room, 653 E. 75th St.

And the 50 Yard Line Bar & Grill, 69 E. 75th St., is close to signing such a deal, sources say.

The plans were created after the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission held what it calls community nuisance meetings beginning in January.

People who live nearby say they hope the new agreements, as well as their ongoing discussions with Chicago Police Department officials to establish a public safety plan for the strip, will help prevent a repeat of last summer when crowds they gathered on the street, became loud and sometimes violent, including a 2021 mass shooting in which a woman was killed.

“This is the first phase of letting them know that the community has a problem with them,” says CeCe Edwards, one of 30 members of the 75th Street Neighbors/Homeowners group who called on the City to crack down on the bars. . “I’m happy to be out of that bureaucratic quagmire.”

Edwards says the group plans to meet in June with commanders of the Gresham and Grand Crossing police precincts, which line that stretch of East 75th Street. She says she also wants the city, for a few weekends in the coming months, tow away the cars of bar patrons who park illegally in places that require residential permits.

Edwards says that he has spoken with Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), who chairs the Chicago City Council’s licensing and consumer protection committee, on the issues on East 75th Street.

“We call ourselves ‘safety ambassadors,’” says Edwards. “We will continue to film the problems and file complaints.”