Last call at Loyola: Hamilton's to close Oct. 27

October 12, 2012|By Mick Swasko, @mickswasko | RedEye

Loyola students know where to find 30 cent wing Wednesdays, jumbo Bud Light draughts on College Night Thursdays and a virtual guarantee of '80s music playing on Saturday nights. Jammies at Hammies and themed Halloween costume parties are an annual tradition and are as much of a staple as 30-year alumni reunions at Hamilton’s Bar and Grill in Rogers Park.

But after nearly eight decades in business, the regular spot for Loyola students to blow off steam between finals or grab a famed “Broadway Burger” is closing its doors. Both part-owner Frank Sassolino and the university confirmed Friday that the building and property where Hamilton’s sits is under contract to be bought by Loyola by the end of the month.

Sassolino said the decision to sell the property to the university was made about a week ago. The business itself has not been sold, but come Oct. 27, Hamilton’s will pour its last drink. And if the outpouring of support on Facebook since the announcement was made Thursday is any indication, the bar that’s been open since prohibition ended in 1933 will have plenty of patrons for last call.

“We have counted five states people are coming from to get here before the 27th,” Sassolino said.

On its Facebook page, alumni and students alike gathered to comment on (and lament) the establishment's final weeks. Some threatened to transfer to another school, others chided university leadership for purchasing the property, and still others expressed disbelief. Several even shared stories about meeting their husbands and wives inside the bar. A separate Facebook group--“Last Call at Hamilton’s” was even created to make plans to send the bar off.

“Until the final drink is poured, the final food item is served, we invite you--our family and friends, current and former regulars, Loyola Alumni and community characters--TO COME REMINISCE , CELEBRATE AND SAY GOODBYE to this institution in Rogers Park, this historic landmark of a bar, for the past 80 years,” said Hamilton’s official announcement.

Sassolino, who with three other partners has owned the bar for about 10 years, said he’s sad to see the establishment go. For years, he said he’s seen families stop in after graduation to mark the occasion with several generations of family members that frequent the bar. He’s even attended the weddings of students, where he said he’s been thanked for “looking after my son or daughter.”

“It’s an institution, a landmark,” he said. “It’s a college bar, but one with a little more class and flavor.”

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