The history, and now dismantling of Southport Lanes

Southport Lanes was built by the Schlitz brewery in 1922 as one of the hundreds of “tied houses” in the Midwest

Southport Lanes is officially closed, and the auction of items has ended. Signs have begun to be taken down and for the first time in decades, you are able to see the old facade.

Leo’s Southport Lanes in the 1960’s and 1970’s

Excerpts from the Chicago Bar project from several years ago:

Southport Lanes was built by the Schlitz brewery in 1922 as one of the hundreds of “tied houses” in the Midwest (only Schlitz beer could be served). Once Schlitz sold the bar, the menu offered fornication to help fund the transitional purchase to its new owners in addition to its nobler alcohol distribution efforts. Because prostitution was, and still is, illegal in Chicago, the owner had to subtly advertise the delights to be found upstairs. He did this by having M.K. Siegner paint murals on the walls depicting nymphs frolicking in negligees. 

Southport Lanes – 1990’s

Because prostitution was, and still is, illegal in Chicago, the owner had to subtly advertise the delights to be found upstairs. He did this by having M.K. Siegner paint murals on the walls depicting nymphs frolicking in negligees. These murals can still be seen today, both in the front room and above the bowling pins. Additional murals of these nymphs, sans clothing, could be found along the staircase and in the second floor bedrooms but those have since been painted over. 

Southport Lanes – July, 2021

In 1991, the bar was purchased and renovated by the same owners that later brought us the Daily Bar & Grill, and such now-defunct dillies as Corner Pocket (now Victory Liquors), Hudson Club, and Lucky Strike (now Seven Ten, which also offers bowling and billiards).

Ownership of Southport Lanes has since transitioned to the Spare Time empire, who also owns Seven Ten, Firehouse, Riverview Tavern, Robey Pizza Company, and Popkin Tavern (Richmond, Virginia). Fortunately, the new owners did not mess with the formula that made the original, “Leo’s Southport Lanes,” an excellent tavern. Leo’s was run by Leo and Ella Beitz dating back to 1960, who took over from Leo’s parents who ran it since 1946.

Continue reading “The history, and now dismantling of Southport Lanes”

Schoolyard Tavern Gutted on the inside

The interior of Schoolyard Tavern is completely gutted, and it looks like it’s suffering the same fate as Southport Lanes

Currently, the interior of Schoolyard Tavern is completely gutted and a dismantle of some-sort is underway. The bar and backroom are both completely ripped out, along with all tables/chairs and other items that were once installed. We’ve reached out to Schoolyard Tavern after their final closing last October on what the current status is with the business, but have yet to hear back. No more website, however Facebook and Twitter are still up.

Schoolyard Tavern – before
Current state as of July, 2021
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Southport Lanes Auction starts this week

Officially the end of an era.

As you know, Southport Lanes, the 98-year-old Chicago bowling alley, bar and billiards hall in Lake View, will not reopen after closing last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading “Southport Lanes Auction starts this week”

Gearhead (Former Uncle Dan’s) closes on Southport Avenue, National Retailer moving in

We should know more on who the national retailer will be taking over this space later this year.

Gearhead (formerly Uncle Dan’s Great Outdoors) closed abruptly on July 13, 2021 at 3551 N. Southport Avenue. The property space was listed for retail rent in the Spring of 2021 on LoopNet, and is currently listed with Seneca Real Estate.  Seneca has signed many retail leases along Southport Avenue, and their listing indicates that the space will be ready for rent starting September 1, 2021. Gearhead was outbid from an unknown national retailer on this space, and was ordered to vacate.

Lincoln Square, Highland Park and Evanston are currently still open per the sign on the door.

Continue reading “Gearhead (Former Uncle Dan’s) closes on Southport Avenue, National Retailer moving in”

Time is up. Blue Bayou’s Owner Foreclosed on

We’re going out on a limb here, but expect the building to eventually be demolished for a new property including residential and commercial spaces.

How fast a decade flies by. Blue Bayou closed in 2012 and had been marketed for lease for the past several years. Time is officially up and the property is now being foreclosed on.

Frontline Real Estate Partners has taken over the property, and specializes in Real Estate Receivership. “When it comes to receivership companies, we take care of the custodial responsibility of a property with the deepest respect and consideration until the situation is resolved. This stems from knowing and respecting our role and obligations as real estate receivers.”

We’re going out on a limb here, but expect the building to eventually be demolished for a new property including residential and commercial spaces.

Continue reading “Time is up. Blue Bayou’s Owner Foreclosed on”

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.

Continue reading “Southport Lanes not reopening; Liquidation to start July 20 – for everything”

M2 Boutique has lost their lease

Sad news for all M2 Boutique fans. The store has lost their lease and is closing on the Southport Corridor. M2 has been a staple of Southport for years, and will very much be missed.

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Southport Lanes may not be coming back after all (Update: It’s not)

In January, news outlets reported the spring return of Southport Lanes after closing in September, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have reached out to Southport Lanes, as well as the commercial real estate sector and we are hearing that it is a slim chance that Southport Lanes will be coming back. The listing from Mid-America Commercial Real Estate has recently been updated as well this past month, which never is a good sign of a comeback.

See the brochure after the jump.

Continue reading “Southport Lanes may not be coming back after all (Update: It’s not)”

Former DavidsTEA space for lease at 3530 N. Southport Avenue

DavidsTEA left the Southport Corridor during the COVID-19 lockdown and the space is now for lease.  At one time a Jewelry store and women\’s boutique was in this space, so now, what would you like to see in this space?

Continue reading “Former DavidsTEA space for lease at 3530 N. Southport Avenue”

Southport Lanes at 3325 N. Southport For Lease Brochure hits the web; SL In Progress of Renegotiating The Lease

Southport Lanes is for lease according to this listing from Mid-America Commercial Real Estate.  The bar and bowling ally has been closed since the Covid-19 shutdown since mid-March, 2020 and has not reopened since Phase 3 began.

UPDATE 7/8/20: Southport Lanes says they will reopening “soon”!  The landlord is exploring options as they try to renegotiate the lease. SL’s sense is that they will be there for a long while 🙏

“We are planning to re-open next weekend. We will decide on Monday. We are trying to get staff members to commit to working which is not an easy task.”

Let’s hope this Southport staple stays around for years to come.

Continue reading “Southport Lanes at 3325 N. Southport For Lease Brochure hits the web; SL In Progress of Renegotiating The Lease”

A list of growing Southport Corridor businesses that have closed permanently due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

It has been a very difficult time for all of us during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially for our local business community.  Here is a growing list of businesses that have permanently closed during the pandemic.

  • DavidsTea on May 27, 2020
  • Fahlstroms Fresh Market on June 3, 2020
  • Frio Gelato on June 5, 2020
  • Mercury Theater on June 16, 2020
  • Cosmos Cleaners – July 2020
  • Guthries Tavern – July 24, 2020
  • Lou & Grey – July 23, 2020
  • Southport Blooms – August, 2020 (Now online only)
  • Hair Cuttery – Closed most Chicago locations during Covid due to a buy-out as of August, 2020
  • Hanna Andersson – August, 2020
  • Redmond’s Ale House – September 13, 2020
  • Southport Lanes – September 27, 2020
  • Schoolyard Tavern – October 4, 2020

We will keep the list updated as the year continues, and please remember to support our local businesses, services and restaurants.  You can email us at southportcorridor@yahoo.com with information on closings, and we’ll continually add to our list.

Fall 2014 on Chicago\'s Southport Corridor
DAVIDsTEA

Continue reading “A list of growing Southport Corridor businesses that have closed permanently due to the Covid-19 Pandemic”

The Red Balloon Company is closing on Southport

The Red Balloon Children’s boutique, located at 3651 N. Southport Avenue came out swinging in 2014, vowing to fight the national retail chains on the Southport Corridor.

“Someone’s gotta do their part to fight the national big box encroachment,” the owner said to then DNA Chicago.

Unfortunately, The Red Balloon announced their closure on January 1 and will now remain at their Bucktown location. Did you shop at The Red Balloon? What can save small independent shops on Southport?