Magnificence Bar Is Again After 14-Month Closure — And Its Opening Weekend Is All About Celebrating Missed Birthday Events


WEST TOWN — The Magnificence Bar nightclub is reopening this weekend after being closed for practically 15 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Magnificence Bar, 1444 W. Chicago Ave., reopens 6 p.m. Friday. The membership shall be open Friday and Saturday nights for the subsequent two weekends.

The theme for Magnificence Bar’s opening weekend is “missed birthday events.” Magnificence Bar itself has two missed birthdays to have fun. Shortly after the keep at residence order final yr, the bar celebrated its tenth anniversary. This March, the bar celebrated its eleventh yr, once more in solitude.

Managing accomplice Rene Romero stated he hopes prospects welcome again Magnificence Bar — despite the fact that the expertise gained’t look fairly prefer it did earlier than the pandemic. Tables and chairs have changed the open flooring the place crowded dancing as soon as occurred.

“Nightclubbing or bar mingling isn’t excessive on a precedence checklist, however these locations for congregating and socializing are so vital to getting again to feeling a semblance of normalcy,” he stated. “We wish to be that for folks. … Everybody wants a bit of little bit of nostalgia. Everybody wants a bit of little bit of escapism.”

Credit score: Hannah Alani / Block Membership Chicago
From left to proper, Magnificence Bar managing accomplice Rene Romero, “Barley” the Australian Shephard canine and Magnificence Bar bar supervisor Brian Sheehan.

Patrons who go to Magnificence Bar this weekend will discover main modifications.

For starters, a number will welcome every group of shoppers and, after a temperature verify, assign them a desk. Tables can sit two to eight friends. The bar’s capability is 60.

The bar isn’t taking reservations, and friends won’t have a time restrict on their keep. Magnificence Bar won’t require patrons to show their vaccination standing.

“It simply feels unusual. It’s an honor system now,” Romero stated. “It’s all been so obtuse. Taking everybody who’s going to be working right here’s opinion into consideration might be crucial half. … That is what the workers can deal with.”

Credit score: Hannah Alani / Block Membership Chicago
Magnificence Bar will reopen with desk seating and a capability of 60 folks on Friday, Might 28, 2021. Staffers added tables and chairs within the membership’s dance room.

Prospects have to be seated whereas sipping beer or cocktails. Whereas some prospects can have desk service, many will order drinks on the bar. They may speak to bartenders by way of a plexiglass defend. Everybody should put on masks whereas standing.

Romero finally plans to deliver again deejays who’ve curated particular exhibits for Magnificence Bar, from indie evening to emo vs. pop punk.

However throughout opening weekend, prospects will hear a playlist curated by Magnificence Bar staffers. Count on workers favorites, such because the Smashing Pumpkins.

Credit score: Hannah Alani / Block Membership Chicago
Magnificence Bar will reopen with desk seating and a capability of 60 folks on Friday, Might 28, 2021.

Romero stated he hopes prospects embrace the modifications and present up smiling, prepared for a superb time.

“Now we have survived a lot stuff, which you could take a bit of extra … make it precisely what you need it to be. Why not take that chance?” Romero stated. “Now we have what we like and imagine in. Our buyer often trusts us.”

Nail artists will now not paint nails within the Magnificence Bar lounge early within the evening; nonetheless, the bar’s “martini pitcher” — which incorporates two martinis in a pitcher — will include a pack of nail decals. The bar may also supply beer pitchers and frozen drink pitchers for the primary time in its 11-year historical past.

The photograph sales space shall be totally operational.

Credit score: Hannah Alani / Block Membership Chicago
Magnificence Bar will reopen with desk seating and a capability of 60 folks on Friday, Might 28, 2021. The photograph sales space shall be in operation.

Longtime bartender and bar supervisor Brian Sheehan stated many purchasers have already reached out on Instagram to say they plan to swing by this weekend.

“In 11 years, that is the primary time one thing’s felt new,” Sheehan stated. “I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m anxious. It’s positively been a whirlwind over the previous few weeks attempting to ensure we’re pleased with the house and what we’re presenting to everyone.”

Whereas the pandemic shut the bar down for practically 15 months, the closure gave workers time to deep clear the venue and alter up the bar. They changed beer traces and added plexiglass dividers to defend bartenders from prospects. To have fun their tenth anniversary, they changed the sound system.

Romero, who lives in close by Ukrainian Village, typically got here into the empty bar to do home-based exercises.

“A enterprise like ours, you’ll be able to’t pivot,” Romero stated. “You’re both closing or crossing your fingers for awhile.”

Of the bar’s 40 staffers, the ten who’re returning to work are totally vaccinated.

Credit score: Hannah Alani / Block Membership Chicago
Magnificence Bar will reopen with desk seating and a capability of 60 folks on Friday, Might 28, 2021.

Chicago’s reside efficiency trade has been among the many hardest-hit sectors of the native economic system through the coronavirus pandemic, unable to function in any respect throughout shutdowns and gradual reopening of native enterprise operations due to security restrictions. 

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Magnificence Bar is owned by 16 on Heart, a bunch that manages bars, eating places and music venues throughout Chicago. The group additionally owns Empty Bottle and Thalia Corridor and shall be redeveloping the Morton Salt manufacturing unit right into a reside music venue.

Having companions throughout the trade was useful through the previous yr, Romero stated. With the ability to speak out concepts with different managers and work collectively on purposes for the federal Paycheck Safety Program mortgage was invaluable, he stated.

The oldsters at Empty Bottle helped Magnificence Bar workers determine learn how to supply livestreamed exhibits for deejays.

Romero thanked Magnificence Bar’s landlords, the Kalata household, for being affected person and understanding through the pandemic. Earlier than Magnificence Bar opened, the storefront served Casey and Sons, a liquor retailer the Kalata household had operated for the reason that ’70s.

“Our landlord has been wonderful,” Romero stated. “He understood what’s taking place. We’ve been right here 11 years. … He is aware of we look after the neighborhood.”

Credit score: Hannah Alani / Block Membership Chicago
Magnificence Bar will reopen with desk seating and a capability of 60 folks on Friday, Might 28, 2021.

Whereas it is going to be awhile earlier than Magnificence Bar totally returns to its full-on nightclub dancing, Romero stated he’s already brainstorming how the bar can safely accommodate Lollapalooza and Riotfest after-parties.

He’s additionally acquired requests for personal occasions, corresponding to weddings.

“We by no means thought to have a marriage inside Magnificence Bar … [but] we all the time suppose outdoors the field,” he stated. “I understand how vital this place is to lots of people. It’s so wonderful to listen to it. You’re like, ‘Oh wow.’ So that you don’t wish to swap issues up an excessive amount of. A mix of nostalgia, and feeling new and present and secure. … We try this properly.”

Magnificence Bar will open 6 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday this weekend and subsequent weekend. Observe the bar on Instagram for updates on future hours.

Credit score: Hannah Alani / Block Membership Chicago
Magnificence Bar and Habana Libre on Chicago Avenue in West City.

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