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Lincoln Park, Old Town

Lincoln Park’s Golden Dagger Fundraising To Help Staffers ‘Out Of Work For The Foreseeable Future’ After Fire

The live music venue and bar was badly damaged in a fire Friday, and launched a GoFundMe to support its employees and pay for repairs.

The Golden Dagger was badly damaged in a fire early Friday.
Facebook/Golden Dagger
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LINCOLN PARK — The Golden Dagger, a bar and live music venue in Lincoln Park, is indefinitely closed after a fire tore through its interior last week.

The bar at 2447 N. Halsted St. was badly damaged in the Friday morning fire, according to the bar’s Facebook post. No one was injured, but a photo of the aftermath showed the bar covered in debris with large holes on its ceiling and side wall.

Donnie Biggins, Golden Dagger’s owner, said the fire started in a window well that was behind a shelving unit behind its bar. It isn’t clear what caused the flames, he said. Chicago Fire Department officials did not return requests for comment.

“The fire was put out pretty quickly, which was great,” Biggins said. “My employee — she reacted quickly and got the fire department there right away so they could put it out.”

The bulk of Golden Dagger’s interior damages came from crews extinguishing the blaze, Biggins said.

“There was tons of water damage, broken doors and ceilings as they just tore up the back part of the bar,” Biggins said. “Of course it’s justified because you’ve got to get that fire out and make sure there’s no lingering flames in the building, but the aftermath is where the sadness creeps in,” Biggins said.

It’s unlikely that Golden Dagger will be able to reopen by the end of December, leaving its staff out of work for the foreseeable future, Biggins said.

To support its staff and help with the bar’s recovery, Biggins launched a GoFundMe, which has already raised more than $23,000.

“The support has been unbelievable and makes me really emotional,” Biggins said. “It makes me really proud of what we’re doing and who we represent that we’ve been met with such sincere love and gratitude.”

The Golden Dagger opened earlier this year after rebranding from the music venue Tonic Room. The bar’s new identity came with a list of enhancements, including a coffee bar, merchandise section and improved stage for live music.

The bar and music venue said it will be in touch with artists who had events scheduled at the Golden Dagger in December. Other music venues with open dates in the next month were asked to reach out to the Golden Dagger to find those artists a new place to perform.

“One year ago, we began our Rebrand Recovery project. This December, we begin our Rebuild Recovery,” the bar said in a Facebook post. “We hope to return to operation as soon as possible, but know it’s going to take some time to repair and remediate the venue.

“We look forward to our return and will keep you updated on our progress.”

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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