Future uncertain for The Keg of Evanston

Marshall Cohen, Managing Editor

The Keg of Evanston may be closing once and for all.

Owner Tom Migon said this afternoon he is negotiating with the property owner to prevent the popular bar’s lease from expiring at the end of this month.

“I’m still in negotiations right now,” Migon said. “We’re working on it right now, and I can’t talk about it.”

The lease for the property at 810 Grove St. will likely not be renewed, according to an Evanston official with knowledge of the situation.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl revoked The Keg’s liquor license in January 2012, effectively closing down the most popular watering hole for NU students. Tisdahl, who also serves as liquor commissioner, blamed rampant underage drinking and pointed to the nearly 150 citations issued at the bar since 2005.

The bar appealed the decision and was allowed to stay open as the Illinois Liquor Control Commission reviewed the case. The state panel ultimately decided to send the issue back to the Evanston liquor board, seemingly handing Migon a win, but he appealed that ruling and the bar has stayed open ever since.

NU students frequented the downtown bar, which Migon purchased in 1993. Undergraduates flocked in droves on weekends and the bar regularly hosted events for graduate students in the Kellogg School of Management.

But Evanston residents and officials worried that the tavern endangered local youth. Their fears were confirmed in 2005 when a 22-year-old was fatally shot inside the bar and in 2010 when an underage patron was hospitalized after a fight. The city temporarily revoked The Keg’s liquor license after both incidents.

Tisdahl told students at a November on-campus forum that closing The Keg “was one of the best things I’ve ever done.” She did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday.

— Marshall Cohen

Correction: A previous of this story said The Keg opened in 1993. That is incorrect. The Daily regrets the error.