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.
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.
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.