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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Nisei Lounge Burglarized, But Loyal Neighbors Act Fast To Raise Alarm

The damage will be costly to repair, but not much was stolen because the bar tightened security as businesses report break-ins across the city, a manager said.

Not much was stolen when someone broke into Nisei Lounge, but the damage will be expensive to repair, a staff member said.
Provided/Matt Lindner
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LAKEVIEW — Nisei Lounge, Chicago’s oldest baseball bar, was broken into Friday morning, but a manager said the loss was minimal because neighbors’ acted quickly to alert authorities and the business had safeguards to protect from potential burglaries.

The neighborhood bar at 3439 N. Sheffield Ave. was broken into around 7 a.m. when someone bent one of the front window frames until the glass popped inward, said Pat Odon, director of beer and baseball operations. 

Numerous neighbors notified the staff, called police and raised awareness online before the business’s burglary alarm went off, Odon said. 

With other businesses throughout the city reporting burglaries, Nisei Lounge staff have been storing less money in the bar and keeping their empty cash registers open at closing time to prevent damage in case of a break-in, Odon said. 

Not much was stolen, but whoever broke in “made an impressive mess” while ransacking the bar in search of cash, Odon said. 

“Even though he didn’t steal that much money, we’re already out $250 for boarding up the window, and it’s going to cost a lot to replace because he bent the window frame,” Odon said. “We’re also looking into getting a new burglary alarm system.” 

Nisei Lounge opened in 1951 and draws fans to watch baseball games and celebrate the events at nearby Wrigley Field. 

Odon said the lounge hasn’t been burglarized in at least the past nine years. Break-ins are not common because the bar is a few blocks from a police station and near the busy Clark Street and Sheffield Avenue intersection. 

“It’s pretty disheartening that someone felt okay to pop open our window and come in for 10 minutes near two major streets at 7 a.m. in the morning,” Odon said. “The responding officers took it very seriously which is gratifying when you’re gonna be paying as much out of pocket as we are.” 

Odon was able to share surveillance footage and other evidence with the officers, he said. 

The lounge usually opens at 11 a.m. on Friday mornings, but opened later as police investigated, Odon said. 

“There’s been a lot of concerns about late-night crime amongst our staff,” Odon said. “We haven’t met with the staff yet, but I have a feeling this will make a lot of them feel even more concerned.” 

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