CHICAGO (CBS) — The Southport Lanes bowling alley and its predecessor, the Nook, survived the Nice Melancholy, the Spanish Flu, and a few of Chicago’s worst climate – however not COVID-19.
The virus has worn out one more well-known Chicago enterprise.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported Thursday, getting into Southport Lanes, 3325 N. Southport Ave., is like stepping again in time. It’s a spot the place individuals, not machines, set the pins – and it’s one of many few locations left within the nation the place that occurs.
“So right here’s the bowling lanes which have been round since 1920,” Southport Lanes basic supervisor Phil Carneol stated as he displayed the classic setup.
From bartender to basic supervisor, Carneol has spent extra time at Southport Lanes than he has at residence.
“I began bartending right here once I was a snotty-nosed child in 1991,” Carneol stated.
The constructing was in-built 1900 by Schlitz Brewery and was initially named the Nook. It was renamed Southport Lanes in 1922, when the 98-year historical past that’s now ending started.
And if the partitions may discuss, you in all probability wouldn’t wish to know what they’d say.
“This was an outdated speakeasy, the place supposedly, there was a den of sick reputation upstairs,” Carneol stated. “Supposedly, there was playing within the again.”
Southport Lanes’ web site notes that there’s nonetheless a dumbwaiter that was as soon as used to carry refreshments to the escorts on the brothel upstairs and their shoppers. There’s additionally a legend that Mayor Anton Cermak as soon as held a weekly poker recreation in one of many secret rooms.
After prohibition, a brand new addition was constructed east of the bar room. It initially housed a playing facility with ties to racetracks around the nation. As the web site put it, “In essence, it was an unlawful off observe betting parlor.”
However those self same partitions that survived Prohibition, the 1918 flu, and world wars is not going to survive COVID-19.
“I used to be ready for the telephone name,” Carneol stated, “and I see the numbers.”
In keeping with a research by Yelp, that is a part of a nationwide pattern. From the start of March by way of the top of August, Chicago companies have seen practically 2,000 short-term closures and greater than three,000 everlasting closures.
“We began having to sanitize bowling balls and pool sticks,” Carneol stated.
Tedious duties, costly cleansing, and fewer room for paying diners means Southport Lanes can’t make ends meet.
“You’re simply not making any cash,” Carneol stated. “The priority I’ve is there’s lots of people who’re going to be out of labor.”
And for the place that has served the North Facet of Chicago for nearly a century, Carneol stated it’s like on the point of hug an outdated pal for the final time.
“I’m going to overlook the drips on Lane four, you understand?” he stated. “It’s like you understand your individual child, you understand? It’s like you understand your individual member of the family.”
Southport Lanes opened for the night as ordinary on Thursday, however you have got per week and a half to say your goodbyes.