Berwyn Tap Room, a bar co-owned by the owners of the closed-down Forest Park Tap Room, has closed due to many of the same problems. 

 Berwyn Tap Room, 6630 W. 16th St., is co-owned by brothers Lance and Hansel Law and William Rivera. The bar had a record of police calls and liquor license suspensions stretching back years. Rivera, who is currently pursuing legal action against the brothers, told the Review that “the straw that broke the camel’s back” was a March 26 incident where the bar was overcrowded and the customers refused to depart voluntarily, leading the police to shut the bar down. During the May 1 hearing, Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero, who also serves as the city liquor commissioner, yanked the bar’s liquor and business license.

Berwyn Tap Room opened in 2019, Rivera previously told the Review, and he liked the brothers, who initially made a good impression. But he claimed they tried to cheat him out of his share of the profits, and when he tried to check the books, used their two-thirds majority to lock him out of any aspect of the bar operations. Rivera remained a co-owner.

Since opening, Berwyn Tap Room accumulated multiple citations and liquor license suspensions. As of the summer of 2021, those issues included excessive noise; drinks served past allowable hours (though the owners claimed these were private events with employees); fights outside the bar or originating inside the bar; an accusation that a woman was pushed down several stairs by a security guard; an allegation of domestic battery; several issues of disorderly conduct, including two in which bar windows were broken, resulting in injuries to at least one person. In the last two years, the bar continued to face complaints about overcrowding, fights and rowdy patrons. 

When the Law brothers opened the Forest Park Tap Room, at 7321 Madison St., in the fall of 2020, they didn’t mention to the village the issues at their other bar. The Forest Park bar subsequently faced complaints about loud music, fights and violating COVID-19 mitigation limits in place at the time, as well as customers allegedly harassing the owner of the neighboring Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home.

When the Forest Park Tap Room’s liquor license came up for renewal in April 2022, Mayor Rory Hoskins, who served as the village’s liquor commissioner, moved to revoke it. After months of hearings and multiple delays, he ruled against the bar in late July 2022. 

Rivera told the Review that last fall, Berwyn Tap Room was cited for overcapacity, and Mayor Lovero suspended the license for 60 days. The Law brothers appealed to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. According to the April 19 meeting minutes, the commission voted unanimously to reduce the suspension to 30 days. 

ILCC spokesperson Nicole Sanders told the Review that she could not speak to why the commission made that decision because it wasn’t outlined in the commission order. She also said when the suspension took effect would have depended on whether either the Law Brothers or Berwyn decided to appeal, as well as when the order was served to the City of Berwyn.

Rivera told the Review that, since last fall, he tried to get an injunction to allow him to perform his duties as Berwyn Tap Room’s Chief Operating Officer and “let me get back to the business and let me manage that property.” He claimed that Mark Johnson, the Law Brothers’ attorney, repeatedly delayed the proceedings. 

According to the police report shared with the Review, on March 26 the officer on patrol spotted patrons waiting to get into the bar. Thinking that this was a sign of potential overcrowding, the officer went in to investigate and counted at least 120 patrons, well above the 49-person-capacity limit. The officer asked the security staff to ask the patrons to leave voluntarily, but most of them stayed put, leading the police to shut the bar down.

The hearing on the case was originally scheduled to take place on April 13, but it’s not clear whether that hearing took place. City spokesperson Claudia Ayala didn’t respond to phone calls and emails requesting comments by deadline. But according to the email correspondence between Johnson and Rivera’s attorney Herman Marino, Lovero revoked Berwyn Tap Room’s liquor license and business license on May 1. 

Rivera told the Review that, with Berwyn Tap Room closed, pursuing the injunction was now a moot point, but he was still suing the Law brothers for his share of the profits. 

“The injunction has been cancelled, and we’re attempting to go to trial; we’re going to have a Zoom meeting to attempt to go to trial,” he said.