Skip to contents
Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Andersonville’s The Bird Cage, LGBTQ-Friendly Club And Restaurant, Closing 1 Year After Debut

The Bird Cage, a restaurant and night club with a "bondage wall," opened in July 2020, but the pandemic quickly forced the owner to close for several months.

Martin Cournane, owner of the Bird Cage
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
  • Credibility:

ANDERSONVILLE — One of Andersonville’s newest restaurants is closing later this month, a little more than a year after it opened on Clark Street during the pandemic.

The Bird Cage’s last day will be Oct. 24, when it will host its final drag brunch, owner Martin Cournane announced on social media.

The Bird Cage opened in July 2020 in the former home of Octavio Cantina & Kitchen at 5310 N. Clark St. Cournane, who opened Octavio in 2018, rebranded the business and transformed the space into an LGBTQ-friendly restaurant and night club.

RELATED: Andersonville’s Octavio Rebrands As The Bird Cage, A Restaurant-Club Where ‘Bondage Meets Cabaret’

The move to re-conceptualize was partially because of the pandemic, when the closure of indoor dining gave Cournane the time to achieve his vision of a place where “bondage meets cabaret,” he previously told Block Club.

But shortly after debuting, the business was forced to shut down amid a surge in coronavirus cases and more restrictions on the service industry. It closed in October 2020 and only reopened in June.

“Rebranding a restaurant is difficult under any circumstances and, as you can imagine, there were many added twists and turns given the restrictions and closures of the pandemic,” Cournane said in a letter posted to Facebook Wednesday. “Despite our struggles to build a viable business, The Bird Cage team continued to show up day after day with a dedication and enthusiasm for our vision that humbles me.”

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
Martin Cournane, center on swing, poses with staff at The Bird Cage, 5310 N. Clark St.

The Bird Cage’s 6,000-square-foot dining room features a stage with a swing and an overhead catwalk, a DJ booth, massive disco balls, wall murals of cabaret dancers and a “bondage wall” of museum-quality sex toys and gear.

At night or during special events, tables would make way to a large dance floor and turn into an LGBTQ and body-positive night club. It was known for hosting lively drag brunches during the weekend.

During its prolonged closure, Bird Cage’s storefront was transformed into a Pride Month display honoring local LGBTQ heroes.

“We are all incredibly proud of what The Bird Cage became and represents, and that spirit continues,” Cournane said in the letter. “I am grateful to live and work in a community that wholeheartedly embraces our core message of inclusion and acceptance.”

Cournane, who owns Lady Gregory’s, LG’s Bar in Old Town and Wilde in Lakeview, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The Bird Cage is the second LGBTQ-focused Andersonville spot known for drag brunches to close during the pandemic. Hamburger Mary’s closed its Andersonville location in November 2020, and will be replaced by Sweetgreen.

The Bird Cage’s “bondage wall.”

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.