LINCOLN PARK — Some Lincoln Park neighbors are fed up with a vegan protein bar for hosting what they say are boisterous parties through a venue-sharing platform akin to AirBnB.
Pegasus Protein, 1863 N. Clybourn Ave., has been offering up its hidden patio for private parties on Peerspace, a peer-to-peer marketplace for booking spaces for events, meetings and productions, both during and outside the cafe’s business hours. The events have been going on since at least September 2020, according to reviews of the venue, dubbed “the Garden of Eternity.”
The gatherings started out as relatively tame, said one neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous. But lately people have used the venue to host raucous parties with loud music and yelling that echoes throughout the alley behind the space and stretches to neighbors’ homes and patios.
“It’s gotten to the point where you can’t even be outside or have your windows open because it’s just so noisy,” the neighbor said.
People can rent the 40-person patio for parties and events, according to the Peerspace listing. Only the outdoor space is available during Pegasus Protein’s business hours, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., but people who book outside those times also can reserve some of the indoor seating, potentially hosting up to 70 people.
The spaces charges $115 per hour with a four-hour minimum. There does not appear to be a time limit for when people can book parties. The listing states the space is available 24/7, and neighbors have said they’ve seen parties going on well after closing time.
Some of the reviews show people have rented the space for graduation parties, baby showers, birthdays, reunions and team-building events.
The rules on the listing state no loud music is allowed after 10 p.m. After that, it needs to be kept at moderate volume.
At least four neighbors said they called the police or reported Pegasus to the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department (BACP), according to residents who spoke to Block Club, but the loud parties haven’t stopped. Isaac Reichman, a spokesperson for BACP, said the department has received two complaints about Pegasus that remain under review.
“When you have neighbors with parties, you live with it because they have two parties a season or whatever, so it’s never been this bad,” the neighbor said. “But when you start realizing you’re going to be hearing a party every weekend — and sometimes during the week — it’s just too much.”
Nick Haldes, co-owner of Pegasus, said the protein bar has been trying to coordinate with neighbors to work something out but thus far, he’s only been in touch with one person who complained.
“Myself and the owners were never contacted or made aware [of the complaints] except one correspondence by a neighbor through Peerspace, but when I responded to try to find a solution, it appeared he had deleted his account,” Haldes said in an emailed statement. “A woman came in and an employee left her my number and we have come to an amicable solution. Haven’t heard from anyone else — just trying to be good neighbors!”
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), whose ward includes the RANCH Triangle where the business and neighbors reside, said she’s been in touch with residents “from the moment it started” and is working to address the problem.
Smith’s office is submitting a public nuisance statement to the city in an attempt to bring Pegasus Protein into community meetings with BACP and the community to come to a resolution.
“In order to do that, we’ve been working with the neighbors, and they’ve been filing complaints — that’s part of the process — so we can show that it’s been more than one incident,” Smith said. “We’ve done this before and usually what happens is there’s a series of meetings among the community, BACP and the licensee to work out the issues.”
One neighbor said they want to see Pegasus’ Peerspace venue closed down or have its hours of operation limited to be the same as the restaurant’s hours.
“They’re not what I want in my neighborhood,” they said. “I like Lincoln Park because it’s a small town in a big city, and these parties have gotten rowdy.”
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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