Berlin, a club that was a cornerstone of gay nightlife in Chicago, has closed after four decades. The bar’s owners announced that they were closing it last week after months of boycotts by workers and performers in support of a fledging union’s demands for higher wages, health insurance and improved security. “The magic that happened at 954 W.
Belmont will never be recreated,” the bar said in a statement on its website. “It couldn’t be. It was a remarkable tornado of talented performers and staff, inspired friends and customers, a crazy location and a lot of dreams.” Patrons and former bartenders responded by flooding social media pages dedicated to the eccentric space with pictures and memories. “The early 90s at Berlin was a blur and an absolute blast!” one customer wrote on Facebook.
The bar opened in 1983, as Chicago’s gay rights movement was coalescing around demands for more resources to address the AIDS epidemic.