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Editorial: Guinness raises a toast to the demise of the Magnificent Mile

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On Tuesday, fans of creamy Irish stout had cause for rejoicing when the beer giant Guinness announced plans to open a taproom in Chicago.

Although initial news reports called the endeavor a brewery, it’s more accurately described as a kind of adult, indoor theme park, where you can taste some microbrews on site, sure, but also eat bread baked with Guinness, buy Guinness apparel and tchotchkes, and generally immerse yourself in one of the world’s great brands. It’s not unlike the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, another attraction designed to obscure ubiquity and offer tourists and visitors a distinctive but carefully branded boutique experience.

The Starbucks Roastery is located on Michigan Avenue, the traditional place in Chicago to reach tourists. The Guinness Chicago Taproom will be located at 375 N. Morgan St. in the West Loop. That decision doubtless was influenced by the amount of available space, but it’s still a major loss for the ailing Magnificent Mile, which has plenty of available space, and a reminder that the old battle for resources in Chicago between downtown and the neighborhoods is not only tired but increasingly inaccurate.

Fueled in no small part by this tribal city’s aldermanic structure, this war has raged on for at least two generations.

Mayor Richard M. Daley was long a neighborhoods-first kind of mayor, only to discover toward the end of his reign the flowering........

© Chicago Tribune

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