WICKER PARK — @North Bar is closing after more than eight years of holding comedy shows and live events in Wicker Park.
Owner Jim Weber announced this weekend the bar at 1637 W. North Ave. is closing. It had become a popular destination for comedy performances of all kinds, hosting touring and local comedians and open mics multiple times a week.
“So many amazing memories, it’s been a long crazy journey, but unfortunately it’s coming to an end,” the bar posted on social media Sunday. “We will miss all of you.”
Weber said @North is closing because the building has been sold. He said he’s tried to get in touch with the new owners to negotiate a deal for the space, but he hasn’t heard back.
“It’s very sad. I worked pretty hard to build it up and get it where it’s at,” he said.
Weber is working to reschedule events that have been booked at the bar over the next few weeks. He’s also hoping to eventually reopen in some form.
“It just happened so quick that I’m kind of scrambling. So I’m checking out spots, I’m hoping to find something to continue doing what I’m doing, because it worked. The bar has been profitable since the second year,” Weber said.
Cook County records show the North Avenue property was facing a foreclosure case in June. It’s unclear how that was resolved, but records listed the city and an incorporated company tied to Richard Chagoya as the grantees in the case. Chagoya said there are several owners involved and declined to comment further.
@North opened in 2013, originally to host mostly live music, Weber said. The bar became a staple after its comedy shows proved popular.
It’s seen drop-in performances from famous comedians, including Hannibal Buress. In 2021, Buress hosted a show at 9 a.m. at the bar, announcing it just hours before on social media.
Weber said more touring acts were beginning to return as COVID-19 cases dropped in recent months. Last week, @North hosted several open mic nights for local performers.
The performance model worked for the space, Weber said. Located near the busy intersection of North and Ashland avenues, the bar doesn’t get much foot traffic, and it doesn’t serve food.
“I just kind of fell into music, comedy and private events. I just kind of went with what you have, and it seemed to work,” he said. “The last couple days I realized how important [the bar] was to the local comedy scene, to a lot of local comics that started out there or did a lot of stuff there and are doing really well.”
@North is hosting a “last hurrah” 7 p.m. Tuesday with some of its regular performers. Entry will be free, Weber said.
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