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Bright Nightclub Sign Drawing Neighbors' Glares

By Victoria Johnson | January 10, 2013 10:49am | Updated on January 10, 2013 3:50pm
 Eclipse Restaurant and Lounge, located at 2554 W. Diversey Ave., and the LED sign that's bothering some neighbors
Eclipse Restaurant and Lounge, located at 2554 W. Diversey Ave., and the LED sign that's bothering some neighbors
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DNAInfo/Victoria Johnson

AVONDALE — It's called the Eclipse Restaurant and Lounge, but nearby residents have long complained that it's more of a raucous nightclub, replete with noise, fights and now a bright new sign that's driving some neighbors nuts.

Friction with neighbors is not new for Eclipse, located at 2554 W. Diversey Ave. Over the summer it was put into the deleterious impact/public nuisance process, which creates a process for neighbors to officially complain and puts liquor licenses at risk.

According to city records, just two deleterious impact/public nuisance meetings were held for Eclipse, one on May 10, 2012, and two months later on July 10.

"We took it to the city, but we weren't able to get a lot of neighbors to show up, unfortunately," said Emily Taylor, who doesn't live near Eclipse but is president of the Avondale Neighborhood Association.

Her sense is that neighbors were afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation and, in fact, one of the neighbors across the street, Pat, agreed to be interviewed about Eclipse on the condition that his last name not be used.

"There are just a lot of things going on over there that shouldn't be going on," he said. "They just keep doing things where they're pushing [themselves] away from the community."

He described the clientele on the especially bothersome nights as "gangbangers" — a term that also comes up in a Yelp review of Eclipse, and on discussions on Everyblock.com.

Police are a common sight there, he added, and, according to a police source, the narcotics unit carried out a search warrant there on Jan. 3, though no one was arrested.

"There's been a major problem with police action and disturbances," said Doug Tally, who manages the building where Pat lives.

Though Tally doesn't live in the building, he manages the condominium association and hears complaints from the people who live there.

Eclipse "got a little better" after the deleterious impact/public nuisance meetings but, said Tally,  "it's kind of eased its way back into the same kinds of activities of brawls in the street and a lot of noise."

 "And now the complaint is a big sign that sends a lot of light on the east side of the building," he added.

That sign is just what has sent Pat over the edge. He and all the other people who live on that side of the building now have to shut their blinds to keep the light out, he said.

The sign was installed a couple weeks ago, but according to the city's Department of Buildings, Eclipse did not get a permit to do so.

Eclipse managers did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday night.