After months of wrangling, World of Beer owner looks toward construction, eventual opening

Joseph Diebold

After months of debate, World of Beer is ready to move forward with construction after Evanston City Council members unanimously approved its liquor license Tuesday.

“I think it’ll be very successful because of the fact that the demographics work,” Franchisee Ted Mavrakis told The Daily on Wednesday. “There’s a certain population in the area that do appreciate the different types of beers and they enjoy sports, and that combination together will work perfectly for the product that we have here.”

Mavrakis first proposed opening the 22nd location of the bar at 1601 Sherman Ave. in January. However, city officials stalled Mavrakis’ liquor license application because World of Beer, which offers a wide selection of globally-sourced beers to patrons, does not traditionally serve food, and Evanston’s liquor ordinance requires restaurants to serve food along with alcohol.

Mavrakis said although he and city officials considered adding a new class of liquor license to get around the requirement, he did not want to postpone opening, because the property had already been vacant for several years. Last year Mavrakis attempted to establish the Tilted Kilt at the property, but Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl rejected his liquor license application because of strong community opposition to the restaurant’s culture. Tilted Kilt’s waitress uniforms include short skirts and low-cut shirts.

Although the World of Beer franchise specializes in beer, its corporate headquarters authorized Mavrakis to include a kitchen in its Evanston location. Mavrakis said he is excited to have the bureaucratic wrangling out of the way so he can move on with the opening.

“If we were to define our own liquor license, the process would take another couple months most likely and we’re not assured whether it’s going to be approved, and we really don’t want to sit and wait on that concept for that length of time,” Mavrakis said. “It doesn’t make any sense when we’re already waiting a number of years for it, so we decided that we’ll just do what (Evanston) asks.”

Even though the bar will serve food, Mavrakis said its primary focus will remain the variety of beers on the menu. He added that he will encourage patrons to bring food from other locations in order to maintain “local flavor.”

“We will have the beer available to anyone who comes in,” he said. “If they choose something else other than what we have on our menu, we’re not going to discourage that, not at all.”

Daniel Kelch, co-owner of Lulu’s Dim Sum, 804 Davis St., which is across the street from the planned World of Beer, said any business on the property is better than nothing.

“I think it’ll be a positive impact,” Kelch said. “The corner’s been sitting vacant for years now. There’s nothing worse than that.”

Kelch added that he hopes Lulu’s will appeal to World of Beer consumers looking for food elsewhere but is not counting on an uptick in business.

Mavrakis said the bar’s architects must now revise their preliminary plans before getting construction approval from the city. He said the approval process typically takes four to six weeks, but he hopes it can be shortened now that the liquor license has been approved. He praised city officials for their help in ensuring World of Beer complies with all existing ordinances.

If the architecture plan is approved, World of Beer will proceed to construction, which Mavrakis said should take two to three months.

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