Chicago’s historic Southport Lanes will not reopen

The COVID-19 pandemic is still taking its toll on local businesses and one Chicago staple revealed some disappointing news. After closing during the pandemic, Lakeview’s Southport Lanes revealed that there was a chance the classic bowling alley and billiards hall could reopen as early as March 2021 due to receiving $70,000 Business Interruption Grant at the end of December.

Owner Steve Soble was hopeful, telling BlockClub Chicago that the grant could get them through the month of December. But as we sit here in early July, the classic establishment has announced that they will not be reopening, ending an era on the city’s North side per the Chicago Tribune:

“After giving it a lot of thought, building ownership decided to go the route of auctioning off the assets for the business formerly known as Southport Lanes,” Irby said. “Ownership, unfortunately, does not see the business recovering any time soon, so the business is now permanently closed.”

Damn.

For anyone who has spent time in that part of the city, you’ve probably stopped into Southport Lanes at least a few times. The bar has been around for 99 years and has a unique history including being used as a tavern, bowling alley, speak-easy, brothel and illegal off-track horse betting venue.

An online auction will be held from July 13-20th to sell off equipment and furnishings. Items for sale include the venue’s famous sign, bowling lanes and equipment, and pool tables and equipment.

It is one of the oldest businesses to shut down in Chicago due to COVID-19.

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