Cocktail Bar in Boystown Being Harrassed by Landlord…Cocktail Files Lawsuit….And Now Have Sold The Business

Chicago’s Boystown bar Cocktail
 is suing its landlord and two former employees for $10 million over an alleged conspiracy to ruin the bar’s good name and put it out of business

John “Geno” Zaharakis, who owns Cocktail, and general manager Dustin Hoffman filed suit July 29. The suit alleges that the building owner and management company worked with two former employees to tarnish the bar’s reputation and oust Cocktail to open a new bar.

The suit names Robert Brumbaugh Jr., who has owned the building on 3359 N. Halsted since June of this year; Brumbaugh’s company, 3357 Halsted LLC;  also named are David Sikora, Cocktail’s former manager; Alexander Stoykov, a former Cocktail go-go dancer; and Key Management and Realty, Inc., the building’s management company, which employs Stoykov.

Windy City Media  reported that according to the suit, Sikora and Brumbaugh allegedly told Cocktail customers that the bar was going out of business.

The suit claims that “on July 22, 2011, in a face-to-face meeting with Zaharakis and Hoffman, Brumbaugh stated that, unless Zaharakis and Cocktail voluntarily agreed to move out of the Premises and surrender possession of the Premises before the end of August 2011, he, Brumbaugh, intended to destroy Zaharakis financially and put Cocktail out of business so that he and Sikora could open their own bar on the Premises.”

Brumbaugh did not respond immediately to a request to comment.

 Sikora declined to comment on the allegations.

The complaint accuses Stoykov of ruining Cocktail’s relationship with its lender of 10 years, Capital Access Network, by telling the company that Cocktail was “a terrible tenant and that Cocktail was going to be evicted.”

It also accuses Stoykov of delivering a false “ten days notice” to vacate the property on the 4th of July weekend in front of customers.

Brumbaugh and Sikora also met with Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) early last month, the suit alleges, to ask for his support in obtaining a liquor license for Sikora’s, telling him that Cocktail was “going out of business” and that he planned to evict them. Zaharakis said he was subsequently assured that Tunney told Brumbaugh and Sikora that they couldn’t apply for a license since Cocktail already has a license for that location.


The stress has been to much for Geno and Dustin. Cocktail has now been sold.

“It’s just made it all  living nightmare,” Zaharakis said. “I wish it hadn’t gotten to this, but it’s just for the best. I just need to take some time off.”

The new owner  will take over as managing partner of the bar Sept. 1 .
Then it takes the city time to transfer licenses and approve the deal. It could be a couple months before the new owner is fully in place.

The bar will continue to be called Cocktail, with Zaharakis licensing the name to the new owner, and the current staff will be retained.

“The person who’s buying it has a good track record with the community,” Zaharakis said. “He’s managed bars before  in the community.”

Zaharakis said he plans to look at owning and running a bar again after taking a break, though he’s not sure where. The lawsuit is still pending and Zaharakis said he  intends to pursue it.