Southport Lanes not reopening; Liquidation to start July 20 – for everything

Everything including the iconic door sign will be available

Southport Lanes at 3325 N. Southport will not be reopening, and everything inside and out will be liquidated.

The details for the liquidation include the following (link):

Southport Lanes & Billiards

Tuesday July 20, 2021

Southport Lanes & Billiards
3325 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60657

Headline: This is an Opportunity to Buy at Auction: Equipment, Memorabilia and Collectables.  Pool Tables, Cues, Bowling Equipment, TV’s, Barware, Kitchen Equipment Furniture, Signs and Memories…  It’s the end of an Era.  Southport Lanes outlasted Prohibition and the 1918 Spanish Flu, but not COVID-19.  Southport Lanes poured its last beer on Sunday, September 27, 2020.  The Owners are overwhelmed and deeply touched by how many of you came out to pay your respects to Lakeview’s Historic 98-Year-Old Bar, Bowling Alley, and Billiards Hall.  Own a Piece of History!

Lots Begin to Close at 10:00 am CST

Inspections: By Appointment Only
Contact: Brian Clettenberg, 847-272-0440,

BidSpotter Link:

Featured Assets:

  • Pool Tables
  • Qty. Pool Balls & Cues
  • Billiards Hall Memorabilia
  • (4) Bowling Lanes
  • (4) Antique Manual Pinsetters
  • Bowling Balls & Equipment
  • (2) Historic Mural’s
  • Illinois Bell Phone Booth (from the Turn of the Century)
  • The Actual Bar, Dating back to 1922!
  • Barware & Tap Handles
  • Restaurant Furniture
  • Famous “Southport Lanes” Sign
  • Exterior Signage
  • Full Service Kitchen Equipment
  • Large Qty of Memorabilia and Collectables
  • TV’s & Audio Visual Equipment
  • Something for Everyone!!!
From The Chicago Tribune, The building’s future is unclear.
“Last year Sobel said the owners were seeking one or more retail tenants to take over the 7,500-square-foot space.
Twice last year, the trust that owns the building extended the maturity date of a loan from Lakeside Bank. The mortgage now comes due in October 2025, according to Cook County property records.
Irby said the building is not on the market for sale, but she declined to comment otherwise on what the property’s owners plan to do with it.
The building’s owners paid $461,335 for it in 1991, according to Cook County property records. Even after the pandemic, that is likely a fraction of its value today on what in recent years has evolved into one of the top retail streets on the city’s North Side.”
The listing from Mid-America Commercial Real Estate includes a mixed-use retail space.  See the listing in the photos below.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Chicago’s one-of-a-kind Southport Lanes survived Prohibition and the Great Depression but not, apparently, COVID-19. Its owner said Wednesday it is closed for good and its memorabilia will be sold at auction.

That means most everything inside the old Schlitz-tied tavern at 3325 N. Southport Ave. that evolved into a combined bowling alley-billiard hall-neighborhood hangout. The auction site Winternitz said items to be sold include the bowling lanes, the antique manual pinsetters, the nearly century-old bar and an even older Illinois Bell phone booth.

Southport Lanes closed in September 2020 because of the pandemic and never reopened, despite getting state and federal money. Owner Steve Soble confirmed the auction plans but declined additional comment.

On his behalf, spokeswoman Lacey Irby said permanently closing the business was a difficult decision. “After giving it a lot of thought, unfortunately the owners do not see the business recovering anytime soon,” she said. Irby had no comment on the future of the property in Lake View.

Southport Lanes received a loan under the federal government’s Payroll Protection Program. A database for PPP money maintained by the news organization ProPublica showed that the business received $200,400 and that the amount was forgiven in April.

It also received a $70,000 grant from the state of Illinois that Soble said in January was “a life preserver” that would let him catch up on bills and pay forthcoming city licenses. He said then he had failed to sell the business and hoped to reopen.

Irby declined to comment on the PPP loan or the grant. PPP rules allowed the loans to be forgiven if the business used most proceeds on payroll and other eligible expenses.

The Winternitz site said Southport Lanes’ memorabilia, including its furniture, murals and street sign, will be auctioned online at 10 a.m. July 20. Items can be inspected beforehand by appointment, the site said.

Southport Lanes operates in a building that started life in the early 1900s as a tavern tied to the Schlitz brewery. In the distant past, it’s been a brothel, speakeasy and gambling den.

Soble also owns the closed bowling alley Seven Ten Lanes in Hyde Park. While a reopening hasn’t been scheduled, Soble has said he’s in a better fiscal situation there because of concessions from his landlord, the University of Chicago.

The city has awarded landmark designation to several taverns that were long ago affiliated with the Schlitz brewery, but Southport Lanes was not among them.

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