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Bucktown Staple Danny's Could Close, Manager Blames 'Gentrification'

By Alisa Hauser | November 3, 2015 1:57pm
 Danny's at 1951 W. Dickens Ave. in Bucktown.
Danny's at 1951 W. Dickens Ave. in Bucktown.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

BUCKTOWN — The owners of a dive bar that has been a Bucktown staple near the corner of Damen and Dickens avenues since 1986 have been asked by their landlord to be out by the end of November, the bar's longtime manager said Tuesday.

"It's not about needing to raise money; it's a question of landlord and gentrification," said Kevin Stacy, a musician and manager of Danny's Tavern at 1951 W. Dickens Ave.

Stacy, who has worked at the bar for 18 years, said that Danny's was on a month-to-month lease and the family-owned company that owns the building recently had a reorganization of their properties following a death.

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The building is owned by Michael Dragovich, according to county records. Dragovich's daughter, Jan, who manages the building, could not immediately be reached for comment.

News of the possible closure was leaked on Tuesday over Facebook, when Clark Street Jams, a weekly DJ night hosted by Gramaphone Records, posted an invite for their Thursday show titled, "Clark Street Jams Danny's End."

"This is the last Clark Street Jams at Danny's as they will be closing. The Gramaphone Crew will all be on hand to throw down the jams!" the group posted.

Alisa Hauser says Danny's is a favorite dive for its neighbors:

Meanwhile, the news of a possible closure hit several longtime residents especially hard.

"It's just too much. All the good places are gone. It's like it's [the neighborhood] is becoming something else," said Alma Wieser, a Wicker Park resident, fashion designer and owner of Heaven Gallery.

Wieser said she and her husband, David, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, go to Danny's often.

The bar is known for its welcoming atmosphere and dance parties that feel more like house party, one Yelp.com user said, while another opined, "You know you'll have fun, you know there will be dancing, and you know you will look hot in the dusty sepia lighting.”

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Deborah Coleman, owner of Pavilion Antiques at 2055 N. Damen Ave., located next to Danny's Tavern, was shocked.

"Oh my gosh, people are going to be crying. There's no TV, it's not a sports bar, that's what I love about it and great music, it's been there forever," Coleman said.

When asked if a closure is really happening at the end of the month, Stacy said, "It's possible but it's not definite. It's a possibility."

Danny's Tavern owners Terry Alexander and Michael Noone issued the following statement through a One Off Hospitality spokeswoman.

"Terry [Alexander] and his business partner Michael Noone are continuing to work with the landlord to find a resolution, and hope to be there for another 25 years," the spokeswoman said.

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