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The Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Michigan is closed for repairs

Billy Goat Tavern
Photograph: Grace Allen Billy Goat Tavern

No fries—no cheeps?! The Billy Goat Tavern that’s tucked away on Lower Michigan Avenue, underneath the tourist-laden sidewalks of the Magnificent Mile, is shutting down for repairs. In posts on the Billy Goat’s Facebook page and website last week, the old-school beer-and-borger joint announced that the 430 North Michigan Avenue location would be closing for four to six weeks starting January 2 for necessary upgrades to the tavern’s plumbing, electrical and restrooms.

The subterranean bar isn’t technically the original Billy Goat—that would be the former Lincoln Tavern out by the old Chicago Stadium, which Billy Sianis purchased in 1934. But Sianis moved to this location in 1964, and it’s this Billy Goat that was made semifamous by references in Royko columns and SNL sketches. That notoriety begat (begoat?) the eventual expansion by Billy’s nephew Sam to additional locations including Navy Pier, O’Hare and the Merchandise Mart.

You can visit those “Backup Goats” for your cheezborger fix between now and the O.G. B.G.’s reopening sometime in February. And don’t fret that the Billy Goat will emerge looking too clean—management promises that the infrastructure upgrades are being done with an eye to “preserving the historic Tavern’s look and décor.”

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