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Billy Goat Tavern faces possible temporary closure

Billy GoTavern. File Photo

Billy Goat Tavern. File Photo

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Updated: December 14, 2013 6:42AM

Friends of the Billy Goat Tavern may be singing the Bob Dylan tune “Subterranean Homesick Blues” if owners of the building that houses the basement bar carry out redevelopment plans — forcing the watering hole to temporarily shutter its doors.

Sam Sianis— owner of the bar that sits beneath skyscrapers on the Mag Mile — said Tuesday night that he plans to meet representatives from the Nationanl Association of Realtors, which owns the building at 430 N. Michigan, on Wednesday.

Sianis, 78, said he’d received assurance he could keep his tavern at that location.

“They said, ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to let you stay,” said Sianis as he cleaned glasses behind the bar of his West Madison Street location.

Sianis acknowledged that the development might mean a new and different look for the beloved dive, but he hopes that is not the case.

“I want it the same. All the walls, I want the same,” he said.

The Lower Michigan Avenue location has been open nearly 50 years in the basement of the National Association of Realtors Building.

A spokesman for the association could not reached.

Sianis said he has a great relationship with the association, which allowed Sianis to a open a Billy Goat location at its Washington, D.C., location when it was built several years ago. “Like family!” he said.

For good measure, Sianis offered up a: “Cheeseborger, Cheeseborger. No fries, chips,” before carrying on with his bar duties.

The phrase was popularized by John Belushi on “Saturday Night Live.”


Twitter: @mitchdudek

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