Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Blackstone Hotel Set for Reopening and Also Being Listed for Sale

Some commercial real estate for your Thursday (via Real Deal):

One week before the Blackstone Hotel reopens after a year-long closure, its owners have put the 335-key South Loop property on the market.

Sage Hospitality Group and Fundamental Advisors enlisted Hodges Ward Elliott to sell the historic building at 636 South Michigan Avenue, according to Crain’s. The asking price is not known.

The 22-story building has been closed during the pandemic, and as it prepares to welcome guests back, the Chicago hotel market is still stuck in second gear.

Sage spent some $128 million to renovate the historic hotel in the 2000s. In 2016, Fundamental bought into the property and the duo plowed in close to $12 million more in upgrades. They also agreed to a franchise deal with Marriott; it is now part of the Marriott Autograph collection, Crain’s reported.

On a practical level, interesting to hear that the hotel is finally reopening which seems to be a sign that they believe we're moving beyond the worst parts of the pandemic.

Outside of that, hard to read too much into the listing.  Is it a bigger trend or just a company that's needing/wanting to sell?  Probably the latter in our opinion.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Keep Your Pets Safe - Coyotes Sightings Seem to Be Popping Up Everywhere

Urban coyotes have become a common thing even if it's surprising when you see one around the neighborhood.  We've been posting about them since we started this ole blog (see post from 2009 here!).

Lately we've seen a bunch of postings and articles about them.  Here is an image from Hello South Loop of a coyote roaming the streets of the Sloop:

Don't be surprised if you see one, but most importantly we wanted to remind all pet owners - especially those with smaller animals to be aware and careful.  These coyotes are notorious hunters and are known for attacking smaller animals (look out cats).

You can read more about them at this Smithsonian article or this Wikipedia page.  Here is a quick blurb about them:

Urban coyotes are coyotes that reside in North American metropolitan areas (major cities and their suburbs). Coyotes thrive in suburban settings and even some urban regions, because of the availability of food and the lack of predators.  One report described them as "thriving" in U.S. cities, and a 2013 report in The Economist suggested that urban coyotes were increasingly living in cities and suburbs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wabash Tap Not "Reinventing" at 1233 S. Wabash ; Apparently Available for a New Business

This may be old news, but it's the first time we've noticed the new sign at Wabash Tap saying that the space is available:

It's an unfortunate turn of events as Wabash Tap was one of the last "dive" bars in the immediate area.  There is still the South Loop Club, but what else are we missing?

As a reminder, back in July of 2019 a similar blue sign appeared but hinted at a "reinvention" vs. a shutter:

Wabash Tap was run by the Mainstay hospitality group which also had Grace O'Malley's and City Tavern back in the day.  Their online presence is lacking these days so we're curious if the group has been disbanded.  They also have (or maybe had?) the Chicago Firehouse.  That famously went up in flames in 2014, but has been remodeled and seems to be sticking around for awhile.

Anyway - will be curious to see what comes to this spot.  

Monday, April 12, 2021

Woman Robbed at Gunpoint on Roosevelt Redline Platform

ugh (via CBS Chicago):

Four suspects were in custody Sunday night after a woman was robbed at gunpoint at the Roosevelt Road CTA Red Line stop.

Detectives said at 5:30 p.m., the robbers – reportedly two men and two women – targeted the 31-year-old woman at the subway station underneath Roosevelt Road and State Street.

The victim was on the platform when the four robbers approached her, sat down next to her, and surrounded her, police said. Two of the suspects took out handguns, and they demanded the woman’s purse and personal property, police said.

Stay safe out there. 

The good news is that the police were able to stop the redline at 47th street station and apprehend the suspect.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Highlighting a Printers Row Staple: Kasey's Tavern

A Chicago Now blogger highlights her love of Kasey's Tavern on Dearborn:

Kasey’s Tavern is a popular sports bar in the Printer’s Row neighborhood. I, along with many other customers, have been anxiously awaiting those boarded windows to open. The exciting announcement came through social media with the bar’s reopening on March 22, 2021.

Kasey’s captured my heart the first time I stepped through those vintage doors and I couldn’t wait to return. It’s the type of bar where everyone can feel comfortable, sports fan or not. Their longevity as Chicago’s second oldest bar goes to show how well-received the establishment is. The charm, staff, low prices, and beer menu keep me coming back for more.

If you've lived in the neighborhood for awhile, chances are you've been to Kasey's (710 S. Dearborn).  If not, head over for some old fashioned Chicago bar fun.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Apolonia Ready for April 15th Opening at Prominent Motor Row Location (2201 S. Michigan)

It's been a tough go for restaurants during the pandemic, but it's encouraging to see such an ambitious opening moving forward - especially towards the south end of the Sloop (via Eater):

It may take conventions some time to return to McCormick Place, but when they do, S.K.Y. chef Steven Gillanders and his team will be ready. The challenges of the pandemic have delayed the opening, but Gillanders’ second restaurant, Apolonia, finally has an opening date in the South Loop. The restaurant, which focuses on European-Mediterranean coastal fare, will open on Friday, April 16 at 2201 S. Michigan Avenue. Reservations are live.

It’s been a long road for Gillanders and his team, but 2021 has provided optimism: “The last relief bill, certainly if it didn’t pass, we wouldn’t have been able to open open,” he says. “That’s just the reality.”

The 5,300-square-foot 100-seater is on the ground floor of a tri-branded Hilton Hotel that also houses Fatpour Tap Works, Starbucks, and VU Rooftop Bar. Nestled near Wintrust Arena in a South Loop neighborhood that’s been begging for more dining options, convention business will be the “icing on the cake,” Gillanders says, locals will be Apolonia’s “bread and butter.” The restaurant will open with a 50-person capacity and 90-minute reservations. Apolonia has space for a patio, but furniture won’t arrive time for the opening.

We are excited, but curious to see how this restaurant does.  The Eater article says the expectation from the owner is that this year will be "lean" but hopefully that doesn't sink this ship before it even has a solid chance to set out on its course.  If it succeeds we anticipate it will continue to usher in more good things for the area.

Judging from the pictures and pedigree of the staff, it sure seems like this restaurant will up the game for the Motor Row area - especially with the (likely?) closure of Acadia.  Between Apolonia and the highly revered Moody Tongue Brewery in the area it sure seems like this area will be primed for locals and conventioneers (assuming they come back at some point).

Congrats to the folks at Apolonia and can't wait to stop by!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Tiffany Stained Glass Windows Being Restored at Second Presbyterian Church (1936 S. Michigan)

If architectural preservation is your type of thing, we suggest heading over to to read about a story at a local church:

At a time when too many of Chicago’s holy places are being abandoned, or worse, we bring you a good news story out of the South Loop. The enormous Tiffany window at Second Presbyterian Church has been removed for conservation.

Thousands of people have admired the 16-foot-tall window during services, tours, and community events. It was designed by Tiffany Studios in 1895, and is titled “St. Paul Preaching at Athens.”

Recently, it was removed from the church for a year-long restoration, which will clean the 22 panels and thousands of pieces of glass that comprise the window. In addition, the structural supports have to be replaced.

A horizontal slice of the window was restored in the late 90’s, and really demonstrated how badly the whole thing needed to be cleaned. Many of the figures depicted in the window can barely be seen.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Viral Video Shows What an Employee at The White Palace Deals with Regarding Mask Rules

A reader sent us a link to a pretty ugly set of videos posted to the site Fly Height.  We weren't really familiar with the site and aren't going to be posting any of their content on Sloopin.  

That said, our mission is to post on various topics in the Sloop and this certainly falls within those boundaries.  Before providing any more detail, just want to note that the content is pretty vulgar and disturbing if you're sensitive to these types of things.  We highly recommend keeping kids away and listening with headphones if you're in a public space.

This specific 5 minute video was apparently taken at The White Palace Grill at 1159 S. Canal and is titled "Fast Food Worker Films the Crazy People She Had To Deal With In Just One Night".  It seems like much of the initial contention between the workers and the patrons are mask rules - but it quickly unravels from there in most instances.

There is a lot to unpack and given the lack of context we will let you judge for yourself.  

We were (sort of) joking a couple weeks ago about Manny's unrealistic 30 day mask challenge.  Well this shows another, uglier side of the predicament many businesses and restaurants face these days.

Sure, The White Palace has a history of "interesting" experiences.  We've only been a couple times and when we wrote about one trip back in 2009 we noted that the police were called because of someone skipping out on a check.

Anyway, we wanted to share because it's clearly a story in the Sloop.  Make of it what you want.

(Hat tip:  KP!)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Float Sixty Officially (Fo Real) Closing Up Shop at 1143 S. State

Looks like Float Sixty in the Sloop is officially closing down shop at 1143 S. State (via Hello South Loop Facebook Page):

It is with a heavy heart that I must report the news of the permanent closing of my business on State Street, Float Sixty South Loop. We have worked out a break from our lease and will continue to operate from our original Float Sixty Chicago in River North, Float Sixty Northwest Indiana and our newest location Float Sixty in Lake Zurich. 

As the owner and founder of this business I personally wanted to thank the vibrant South Loop community for all of the support since we opened in late 2018.  Your help as we endured multiple issues at this location will always be remembered and appreciated. 

Pictured: The wonderful painters that painted our board ups after the riots. 🙏 

Be well and thank you for your support.

It's been a tough go for this business, but wish them the best.  Back at the end of last year we posted about them closing and at the time the owner reached out to say it wasn't 100% clear if they were closing for good, but seems like that's what officially just happened.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Charred Wing Bar Opens Ghost Kitchen in 1150 S. Michigan Burger Bar Location

 We recently stumbled upon a rather innocent story that caught our attention on the Newcity website: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Wings: Charred Wing Bar, South Loop Ups the Game".

What is this you say?  The Sloop bringing some heat on Wings?

Surely there are a bunch of places in the neighborhood that serve wings, so which one is this author referencing. seems like it's one we didn't know exists:

Given the popularity of wings during the year’s biggest football game, it’s no accident that Charred Wing Bar in the South Loop (1150 South Michigan) opened right before Super Bowl Sunday.

Hmmm - we don't recall seeing a new restaurant go up on Michigan avenue, so what gives?  According to the article:

At this ghost restaurant within Burger Bar (with two Chicago locations), chefs John McLean and Martin Murch serve eighteen different preparations of wings, which is around sixteen or seventeen more than I’ve seen offered at places like Buffalo Wild Wings. As the name Charred Wing Bar implies, these wings are not fried, as at other wing-centric restaurants like Wing Stop.

All this wing talk has me hungry and it's only Monday morning - so i guess we'll have to wait to try out this spot.  

Has anyone been yet?  Thoughts you'd like to share? 

Friday, March 26, 2021

What the Headline?!?!?
"Lollapalooza 'Zombie' Attacker Rises From the Undead to Attack Cops in South Loop"

While this probably isn't a super interesting story to most of you, the headline certainly caught our attention:

Lollapalooza “zombie” attacker rises from the undead to attack cops in South Loop

We had no idea what was in store after seeing this headline, so if you're curious keep on reading (via CBW):

The infamous Lollapalooza “zombie” who earned 15 minutes in the spotlight by biting a complete stranger at the annual music festival in 2014 has apparently signed up for an extra couple of minutes of fame.

Prosecutors say the zombie — his actual name is Sergio Vicenteno — tackled a Chicago police officer who had a gun drawn while investigating a burglary in progress in the South Loop.

And Vicenteno won’t be biting anyone for a while — the cops broke his jaw.

Officers responded to multiple calls of a man trying to break into apartments on the 15th floor of a high-rise in the 1400 block of South Michigan around 10 p.m. Monday. According to dispatch records, one caller told a 911 operator that she thought the man was going to get into her apartment and attack her.

There is some more on the story and the 2014 incident at the link if you want to go deeper.  We were hoping for something a little more with a headline like that, but what can we say we're a sucker for some good words.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

New eSports Arena - named Surge - Approved by City Council Zoning Committee for Location Near Motor Row

An interesting development just south of the Sloop (via Sun-Times):

Esports has been touted as having one of the largest fan bases in all of American sports — second only to the National Football League.

Now that fast-growing sport could be coming to Chicago’s Bronzeville community.

The City Council’s Zoning Committee on Tuesday gave final zoning approval to Surge, a $30 million esports and virtual reality arena.

If pandemic restrictions ease and allow increased capacity at the arena, Lincolnshire-based developer Scott Greenberg plans an immersive experience for up to 1,040 people, including game participants and spectators.

The 108,000 square foot arena — with restaurant and bar service, free-roaming space for virtual reality and technology for national broadcasts — would be built without city subsidies at 2500-2548 S. Wabash Ave., just across I-55 from McCormick Place.

Seems like a good move and nice to see Alderman Dowell getting some praise from her colleagues on what seems to be a great project for the area.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Naf Naf Grill Moving Into South Loop Marketplace (1248 S. Canal)

Love this post by Mr. South Loop and the impending opening of Naf Naf Grill.  We just wish they picked a location that was easier to access by walking.  That said...beggars can't be choosers: