The half-bar, half-liquor storeclosed Sunday in Jefferson Parkbecause of a rent dispute between Gus and Shanna Karamaniolas, who owned the bar for eight years, and the owner of the building, Gus Karamaniolas' uncle.
Fischman's will reopen in 2017 in the same building as the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., said Shanna Karamaniolas, who owns the bar with her husband, Gus.
"It will be a lot of fun," said Karamaniolas who announced the news Saturday evening at a gathering for longtime customers, employees and friends. "It all came together much faster than we expected."
Fischman's will continue to offer a wide selection of craft beer — and plans to host outdoor festivals similar to the ones that took place in Jefferson Park, Karamaniolas said.
In addition, the husband-and-wife team plan to open a small restaurant and beer garden, something they tried and failed to do at their previous location.
The new bar will take the place of four empty storefronts between the theater and Cuyler Avenue in the heart of Six Corners.
"We wanted to be really smart about the location that we picked," Karamaniolas said. "And this gives us everything we need."
While Karamaniolas said she and her husband were committed to remaining on the Far Northwest Side — where they are raising their sons — they had not planned to leave Jefferson Park.
"Jefferson Park is our home base," Karamaniolas said. "We wanted to stay there."
Karamaniolas said she and her husband had not considered Six Corners until Ald.John Arena (45th) and the Six Corners Association encouraged them to put the shopping district on their list of possible new homes.
The storefronts — along with the former movie palace and 34 apartments — werepurchased in March by a Northbrook-based private equity firm from Eddie Carranza, who had long promised to transform the long-vacant storefronts into new shops and restaurants.
"There is a lot of foot traffic and parking," Karamaniolas said. "That was very important to us."
But the news that Fischman's will reopen a mile south in Portage Park could boost efforts to revitalize Six Corners and accelerate the transformation of that stretch of Milwaukee Avenue into an entertainment destination with a vibrant night life.
"The area is really developing," Karamaniolas said. "We want to be a part of it."
Fischman Liquors and Tavern
Announces Closure Chicago's
favorite craft beer emporium set to pour its last pint this July
CHICAGO, May 2, 2016/Fischman
Liquors and Tavern/- Fischman Liquors and Tavern, a staple of the Jefferson
Park community, has announced that the business, which includes a tavern and an
attached liquor store, will be closing on or around July 17th, 2016.
Purchased by the Karamaniolas
family in 1996, Fischman Liquors has since then been a family owned business
focused on being a community location. For the past several years, the business
has been driven by Gus and Shanna Karamaniolas, who took the business over from
his father. Unfortunately, taking over the business did not mean taking over
ownership of the actual property.
Focused on expanding the
business to provide not only the community, but the city with a destination for
great craft beer and friendly service, Fischmans was slated to open a
restaurant, beer garden and much more. Due to internal family struggles over
the nature and expansion of the business, the vision shared by Gus and his wife
Shanna was consistently faced with road blocks beyond their control.
Recently celebrating the 20th
Anniversary, and plans for several craft beer and community focused events, the
road blocks have taken their toll. Unfortunately, the closing of Fischmans also
means canceling our annual Kegs for Kidneys event. This yearly event, which was created on
behalf of Izzy, the niece of Gus and Shanna, has raised over $25,000 for the
National Kidney Foundation of Illinois since its inception in 2012.
While the decision to close
has been made, it was a struggle. The
love and support from everyone who has ever been to Fischmans has weighed heavy
on the hearts of Gus and Shanna. Taking the bar, which was once seen as a
"shot and a beer joint”, into a location known not only for a great beer
selection, but events that bring the community together, was always the dream.
And in the words of Gus, "The dream we had for this place, what we wanted
to do, what we wanted it to be... that dream has died."
Although the dream may have
died, let it be known it did not die without a fight. Constant battles with
lawyers, lawsuits, family and even taking on expensive repairs to the building
to keep the business open, ultimately led to the decision to close. Closing a business because it is failing is
one thing. Closing a business that has grown into an established success, due
to an ongoing battle with family, makes this that much harder.
As the doors are locked for
the last time, another family will be torn apart. A family that was built at
Fischmans. Employees, customers, and everyone in the community was a part of
what was considered family. The memories created here are memories that will
live on forever. The friendships created here are friendships we hope will
continue for years to come.
Gus and Shanna would
whole-heartedly like to thank everyone for their support through the years. You
helped make Fischmans the success it has become. From Tap This! to Kegs for
Kidneys, Oktoberfest to Fischmas, each event was a success because of our
Now as this chapter closes, a
new one begins, and who knows what the future will bring. Fischmans may
once again, Tap This!
Until the next time we raise a
“BDub”~ Brandon M Weninger
Brandon has worked with
Fischmans since 2012 to help with special events, email marketing and
maintaining the website… And occasionally ran around to push a camera in your