Booze is one of those industries, like cars and movies, where for the most part, companies that mass produce the product are not allowed to sell it directly to the pubic. But that wasn’t always the case, which is why Chicago has a number of buildings with “Schlitz” logos embedded in their facades.
These were “tied houses,” meaning bars that were tied to one particular brewery. In Chicago, Schlitz was king, with around five dozen built.
9401 is across the street from the canal that leads to Lake Calumet. The neighborhood is known as the East Side. Not to be confused with the New East Side, which is also a Chicago place.
When this building went up in 1907, this was a hopping industrial zone full of hard-working people doing hard-working things, who needed a hard-earned beer after a hard day’s work. Today, it’s still industrial, but on a much smaller scale, as Chicago’s shipping industry shifted from boats and oars to the iron horse. But the Charles Thisslew-designed building still stands, and you can still see the sooted terra cotta Schlitz globe on the west side of the building.
If you want to put together your own tour of Schlitz tied houses, here’s the ones on our list:
- 194 South Oakley Street
- 958 West 69th Street
- 1801 West Division Street
- 2159 West Belmont Avenue (Featuring both Schlitz and Starbucks signs)
- 3456 South Western Avenue
- 5120 North Broadway Street
- 9401 South Ewing Avenue
- 11400 South Front Avenue
And if you really want to go nuts, tack on 11314 South Front Avenue, which was a Schlitz stable.