PedalPub: Licensing issues force mobile bar to close - KMSP-TV

PedalPub: Bar on wheels business comes to screeching halt

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The PedalPub, a mobile bar trolling the streets of Chicago, used to offer a pub crawl through downtown, but as of Tuesday, had to shut down because it was unable to get a business license from the city.

Chicago manager Matt Graham says PedalPub has been doing up to 40 tours a month. The table on wheels was popular for birthday parties and bachelor/bachelorette parties.

"The PedalPub is a bike that you can rent with your friends in advance with 6-16 people and then you can do a pub crawl," Graham explains.

It is operating in over 25 cities.

"We can drink in the bars..any bars, pretty much anywhere you want," Graham says. "But we don't drink on the bike."

Since 2011, Graham says Minneapolis-based PedalPub has tried to no avail to get a business license to operate in the city of Chicago

In a letter, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said one of the reasons why a charter/sightseeing license was denied was that PedalPub was not a motor vehicle.

"The only way they want us in the city is if we motorize it, which defeats the whole purpose of getting out and having a fun, healthy good time," he adds.

The city tells FOX 32 that PedalPub did not meet a long checklist of federal motor vehicle safety standards that includes seat belts, windshields, and stop lights.

"2011 was the first license we applied for…the limited business license which we still think is the best fit for us and they denied that," Graham tells FOX 32.

So for two years, PedalPub operated without a license. As the applications were pending and after paying one fine of $2,000, the company officially shut down on Tuesday.

Two PedalPubs remain out of commission in the garage of the Trinity Bar on North Halsted where the PedalPub crawls began.

"It's really good for business as far as bringing in a lot of people at once, making the bar busy on a Saturday afternoon," Trinity bartender Kevin Stevenson says of the mobile bar.

Graham says he'll have to take the business elsewhere and is looking into moving to the Chicago suburbs.

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