The lesbian-owned restaurant and bar R Public House, 1508 W. Jarvis Ave., was targeted by a hammer-wielding man yelling anti-LGBTQ slurs at about 5:40 p.m. during happy hour on Monday, Jan. 16.
Owners (and married couple) Sandra Carter and Renee Labrana also own nearby Jarvis Square Tavern.
According to R Public House Manager Jenni Smith, the alleged incident began when two people were exiting their car to head into R Public House. They immediately encountered the man, who started to hurl the anti-LGBTQ slurs at them that continued as they entered the establishment.
Employees told the man to leave, at which point he took out a hammer and smashed the glass front door. He then quickly fled the scene. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident. At the time of publication, no arrest has been made in the case.
Some customers fled the restaurant/bar using the back door because the smashing sounds mimicked gunshots. Surveillance footage shows the man was wearing a mask as he was smashing the glass.
"Nothing like a homophobic guy with a hammer yelling anti-gay slurs at customers and threatening them to shake up the night," said R Public House's management on their official business account on Twitter a few hours after the alleged incident occurred. "WTF is wrong with people."
"Hate has no home here," said Carter in a phone statement to Windy City Times. "We love Rogers Park and we are not going anywhere. This neighborhood is very queer and that is the way we like it. We are community-focused and hold many events and fundraisers to fight hunger for women's reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality."
R Public House's website states that the establishment "is a community-driven pub that welcomes everyone. We will serve as an anchor business in the neighborhood, providing an atmosphere for entertainment and light dining, philanthropy and goodwill for the diverse population of Rogers Park. R Public House is proud of Chicago and the progress being made in Illinois to guarantee the rights of all people."
R Public House held a community gathering on the evening of Jan. 17 at the restaurant/bar. Carter told Windy City Times that Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Illinois state Sen. Mike Simmons and 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden (all of whom represent the area where R Public House is located) were in attendance.
R Public House management also posted the following message on their social media pages: "After an unfortunate incident of homophobia we have felt an overwhelming outpouring of love. Our local elected government officials, along with our police department, have all reached out to offer their support. So many of you want to help. Doors are replaceable, you are not. Let's turn this around. Anything that we raise above the cost of the door will be donated to the Rogers Park organization A Just Harvest. Breaking bread, restoring community. Stop the hate. One RP."
To make a donation, visit ajustharvest.org/give/donate/ .