Just before the busy Fourth of July weekend, three Gold Coast nightclubs have been forced to shut their doors.
“We’re using all the tools we have at our disposal to crack down on this bad operation,” 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins said of the decision.
The clubs were shut down for various building code violations according to the city, but Hopkins says that the decision to order the businesses to close is about a lot more than that.
“We had a shooting earlier this year involving patrons of this establishment,” he said. “We’ve seen a documented increase of crime in this neighborhood that we believe is caused by patrons of this bar.”
An attorney for Room Seven, one of the clubs shut down for violating city building codes, says that the shooting didn’t happen at or near the club.
The attorney also says that the club has implemented several security procedures in the wake of city complaints, including hiring more security and making bar patrons pass through a metal detecting wand procedure to get into the club.
The bar’s customers also say that the establishment doesn’t draw gang members.
“I’ve been there,” one patron said. “I don’t agree with gangs frequenting it, because it’s hard to get in at all. They have a strict dress code. I’ve never seen anyone that I identified as a gang member.”
Despite their protests, Hopkins says that they will still be held accountable for the clientele that the establishment draws in.
“Whether the incident happened in the bar or just outside the bar, it’s connected to the bar and it’s connected to activity and the crowd that it attracts,” he said. “The fact is that certain gangs in Chicago have adopted this bar as one of their destinations, and we just can’t have that in this neighborhood.”
An attorney for Room Seven says that it’s unclear when the clubs will reopen. They are currently working with the landlord, as well as the city, to get the building and the club back up to code.