A Project by
the Museology Class
Hegewisch Commerce
Hegewisch Welcome Page
Hegewisch Commerce Introduction
 Baltimore Avenue District
 Hegewisch Taverns & Saloon Album
 The Hegewisch News
Hegewisch Taverns and Saloons

         What is a saloon or a tavern?  Well they can be defined as a place where people gather to socialize, drink, talk, and to have good times and good laughs.  Saloons have been a part of Chicago for a long time. 
 Hegewisch itself had and still has many taverns.  A lot of them were established in the early 1900's and some even earlier than that date.  Many of them were family owned and family run.  Others were just owned by single men.  A number of taverns operated in the shopping district of Hegewisch. 
         With prohibition, liquor was outlawed and many taverns lost their business.  Others continued to operate as "speakeasies".  After Prohibition ended taverns needed to increase their sales.  Tavern owners used different tactics to attract people to come in.  They had halls attached to the taverns and rented them out for parties.  They were also used as employment halls to hire.  Many people came in to get a job, though pay would be very low.  Some taverns had food for sale, too.  You could go in to have a drink and and to have a meal as well.  Taverns in desperate need of increasing sales offered free lunch.  This attracted people to come in to eat, but to also have a few drinks, even during Prohibition.  All the taverns that served food had small kitchens attached in the back.  With low sales during Prohibition, a lot of taverns were forced to be closed.  This would all change though, when Prohibition ended.
          Many different types of taverns operated in Hegewisch.  Most of the time, people would go to a tavern to have a drink and to talk with friends to socialize.  Some of the time, taverns were "men only" establishments.  This meant that only men would run these taverns and only men would drink in these taverns.  Other taverns were known as "stand up establishments."  This is where the guys would stand around to drink and talk.  Then there would be taverns that would favor and only allow only certain ethnic groups into their saloon.   Other taverns welcomed family business especially those that served food. 
         Presently, a lot of taverns once in business, are no longer in business.  They were closed down due to low liguor sales.  This happened because of a declining economy due to the closing of many of the area steel mills and a decline in the amount of drinking in recent years.   There is not as great a demand for as many taverns as once existed.  There are still plenty of taverns open in Hegewisch today.

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Hegewisch Commerce

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