Auto repair

Lake Effect Brewing to take over former Avondale auto repair shop after fire station case unravels

AVONDALE – Lake Effect Brewing has a new location ready for construction: a one-story building in Avondale that was once an auto repair shop.

The new spot is at 3076 N. Milwaukee Ave., and it has room for the brewery’s beer productions, an indoor dining area and a beer garden out back, owner Clint Bautz said. .

Avondale’s location is a change of plans for the brewery; Last month, the Lake Effect team announced that they had backed out of moving to a historic firehouse in Jefferson Park because the project there was slowing down.

“The [Avondale] the building has good bones, and it’s going to need some work in there… but it’s got the right zoning and it’s got a lot of potential,” Bautz said.

The corner building once housed the GMG Volkswagen auto repair shop, which closed this year after operating since 2002, according to business license records.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
The rear space at 3076 N. Milwaukee Ave. will be transformed into a beer garden for Lake Effect Brewing, as seen on August 12, 2022.

The building is next to a clothing store, motorcycle parts store, tattoo shop and apartments.

The Lake Effect Brewing team hopes to add more excitement to the Milwaukee Avenue strip, which was once a thoroughfare for Chicago’s Polish community. His staff are excited about the company’s first bar.

Bautz wants the brewery to add diversity to the area, and he hopes to “clean up the corner” and bring in new energy, he said. The old auto shop is regularly defaced with graffiti, and trash is often strewn along the sidewalk and bus stop outside the building’s main door.

“There’s so much going on there,” Bautz said. “There’s Avondale Bowl, Sleeping Village, parks. … I hope we can be a good addition.

The Avondale stretch has seen less activity in recent years, with longtime Polish businesses closing and a slew of empty storefronts occupying Milwaukee Avenue.

But the strip could take a turn as new developments emerge and businesses move in.

Near the new Lake Effect space, an apartment complex is being built, taking over the former Polish Red Apple sideboard. A few blocks north, plans for the Belmont Triangle redevelopment are underway.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Milwaukee and Hamlin Avenues in Avondale as seen on August 12, 2022.

RELATED: After the Lake Effect brewery cancels plans for Jefferson Park, neighbors ask: what will it take to keep the promising businesses going?

Lake Effect Brewing’s lease began in July, and the company moved equipment onsite, Bautz said. He plans to have his production operational by the end of the year, while he aims to open the bar next spring.

“The reception room takes a little longer than the factory side. … Hopefully there are no major time gaps,” Bautz said.

Fans can still purchase Lake Effect beers at its Old Irving Park location through December. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at 4727 W. Montrose Ave.

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