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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com with information on closings, and we’ll continually add to our list.
Sad news for Diag & 404 Wine Bar lovers. Both establishments will be closing their doors on August 4, 2019 according to their Facebook post. We wish all the staff and owners the best of luck, and will miss these Southport staples.
The building on the corner of Southport and Belmont that houses Bel-Port Liquors is currently for sale, and once a buyer comes through, the liquor store will be closing. Across the street, the building that once housed Flat-Top Grill,Burger Boss and Dojo Chicago is mostly vacant, so this area of Southport and Belmont could look quite different within a short period of time.
From the real-estate listing:
“The first floor is occupied by Bel-Port Liquors, which currently operates under a month-to-month lease and will vacate at the time of sale. Half of the first floor and the entire second floor is currently vacant, which was previously used as storage space. A new owner can take advantage of this opportunity by gut rehabbing the existing building, into a luxurious mixed-use; retail and apartment building. Each floor has one in-place bathroom and one room with plumbing in-place for a second bathroom.
The immediate area is populated with restaurants and bars, and many national retailers. The property’s proximity to major thoroughfares and public transportation make it an ideal spot. This is a perfect value-add opportunity to a new investor.”
Long-time staple Flat Top Grill at the corner of Southport and Belmont Avenue closed its doors on Tuesday, January 26. It had been located in that location since 1995. We contacted Flat Top via Twitter and they responded that they had to close due to economic factors outside of their control (assumption: the landlord wanted more money for their lease).
Sad news to report for all of you Cullen’s fans. They have lost their lease according to their Facebook page. It will be their last New Year’s so make sure to stop by for one last Guinness. Look for a final closing in early 2015.