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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

The Hideout Will Reopen Jan. 10 After Toxic Workplace Allegations Led To Temporary Closure

Owners said they're implementing a series of changes to how the venue is operated, including establishing a diversity and inclusion council, new leadership reporting structures and additional resources for staff.

The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., in West Town on Nov. 23, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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BUCKTOWN — The Hideout will reopen early next year, two months after owners announced it would go on hiatus through at least the end of 2022.

The Bucktown venue and bar, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., temporarily closed in November after allegations of a toxic workplace, tokenism and other problems levied by former program director Mykele Deville led to numerous shows and events being cancelled at the popular concert space.

In October, Deville wrote a lengthy social media post detailing his experience working at the venue. During his eight months on the job, Deville said he was spit on by a customer, berated by a resident artist, asked to take on extra work duties and experienced a tense work environment, among other issues.

Deville was fired as program director earlier this year, he wrote. In response to the viral post, numerous artists and musicians canceled performances at the venue.

In a statement announcing the closure this fall, Hideout owners Tim and Katie Tuten and Mike and Jim Hinchsliff said they planned to retain an outside HR firm to complete an “equity audit” of the venue’s practices and policies. They said they “acknowledge the deep pain Mykele and others are feeling,” although did not respond to his specific claims.

In a statement released Wednesday, owners said they’ve completed that audit and are making several “important improvements” to how the venue is run as they resume operations. The Hideout will reopen Jan. 10.

“Over the past two months, our human resources advisor, an expert in workplace culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion, interviewed all Hideout staff and owners to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Those individual, confidential conversations provided great insights and ideas about how to improve the Hideout,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, changes at the business include new leadership reporting structures, additional support and resources for staff, creating a diversity and inclusion council, formalizing hiring practices and more.

The venue has also drafted a diversity, equity and inclusion policy with more details that’s available on its website.

“In the last few months, we’ve taken a long look at who we are, what we’re doing, and what the Hideout is all about. It has been intense and emotional. As owners, it’s on us to make sure everyone feels welcome at the Hideout, especially our staff. We believe that everyone – owners, staff, performers, or patrons – who walks through our doors must treat each other with respect and decency. No exceptions,” the statement reads.

Read the full statement below.

Ownership declined to be interviewed through a spokesperson. Deville declined to comment on the reopening announcement.

The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., in West Town on Nov. 23, 2022.

In November, a group of community members independently launched a GoFundMe to financially support Hideout staff while it remained closed. In an updated post this month, organizers said the venue was still paying its staff through the end of 2022, but that funds raised will still be distributed to employees.

“We wanted to inform everyone that the Hideout will be paying its current staff some compensation through the end of the year. All of the contributions from this fundraiser will go to further support the staff during the holiday season and hopefully provide some financial cushioning during a time of uncertainty,” the GoFundMe now reads.

As of Wednesday, The Hideout had not yet announced any upcoming events on its website. The venue has for decades hosted not only concerts but trivia nights, comedy shows and community events like Soup and Bread.

In the statement, venue owners said they are now committed to putting the proposed operational changes into action.

“We are not perfect, we are a work in progress. But we are absolutely committed to trying to do what is right. And we know the Hideout community will hold us accountable as we move forward,” the statement reads.

“So we ask you, when you’re ready, to join us as we start a new chapter at the Hideout.”

The Hideout’s full statement:

“In the last few months, we’ve taken a long look at who we are, what we’re doing, and what the Hideout is all about. It has been intense and emotional.

“As owners, it’s on us to make sure everyone feels welcome at the Hideout, especially our staff. We believe that everyone – owners, staff, performers, or patrons – who walks through our doors must treat each other with respect and decency. No exceptions.

“During our hiatus, we heard over and over just how important the Hideout is to so many people. So today we’re announcing the Hideout will reopen on January 10, 2023. But when we reopen, it will be with some important improvements.

“Over the past two months, our human resources advisor, an expert in workplace culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion, interviewed all Hideout staff and owners to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Those individual, confidential conversations provided great insights and ideas about how to improve the Hideout.

  • new leadership reporting structures
  • additional support and resources for staff
  • creating a Diversity & Inclusion Council of our staff
  • formalizing our open hiring process and incorporating DEI goals in that process
  • developing key performance indicators that are universal to all employees
  • conducting ongoing facilitated sessions on topics including disrupting bias

“We have also adopted a new DEI statement that makes our values clear, which you can find on our website.

“Now, our job is to put these ideas into action. We are not perfect, we are a work in progress. But we are absolutely committed to trying to do what is right. And we know the Hideout community will hold us accountable as we move forward.

“So we ask you, when you’re ready, to join us as we start a new chapter at the Hideout.”

Mike Hinchsliff, Jim Hinchsliff, Tim Tuten, and Katie Tuten, owners of The Hideout

Editor’s note: Block Club Chicago held an event at The Hideout in 2018. A Block Club editor hosted a long-running show at The Hideout, The Girl Talk, from 2016-2020. Block Club reporters have moderated panels at The Hideout.

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