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Double Door Owner Plans To Reopen Music Club In Logan Square

By  Alisa Hauser Kelly Bauer and Mina Bloom | February 6, 2017 12:42pm | Updated on February 7, 2017 8:27am

 A man changes the locks at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.
A man changes the locks at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — Double Door, an iconic Wicker Park music club, has been evicted from its longtime location on Milwaukee Ave. but a co-owner says the aim is for the venue to continue in Logan Square.

Around 11:30 a.m. Monday, Cook County sheriff's police slapped a "No Trespassing" sign on the club's door. Minutes later, a locksmith could be seen changing the locks.

Sean Mulroney, co-owner of the 23-year-old, 550-capacity club at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., has been in a prolonged battle with his landlord Brian Strauss to try to stay at the spot.

On Monday evening, Mulroney told DNAinfo that plans are moving forward to reopen in Logan Square at 2551 N. Milwaukee Ave. and that he and club partner Joe Shanahan will ask for permission from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals.

"We'll be filing shortly and pulling permits and doing [interior] demolition," Mulroney said of the Logan Square site, a stately former bank building that has entrances on Milwaukee Avenue and Logan Boulevard.

Strauss and his father, Harry Strauss, started eviction proceedings in November 2015, and the club was told to leave by Dec. 31, 2016. But a judge said in November the club could stay past Dec. 31 as it worked through an appeal if it continued to pay $26,000 per month rent.

It was unclear what will happen to the shows already scheduled at the club. Hours after the locks were changed, the Double Door website still was advertising upcoming bands.

Double Door has been in the location on Milwaukee Avenue since 1994. The Rolling Stones, Smashing Pumpkins, Rise Against and Sonic Youth are among the many groups that have performed there.

Brian Strauss told DNAinfo, "I tried very hard to work this out amicably, and I never wanted it to come to an eviction.

"I tried to do everything to allow them to stay. I wish [Mulroney] the best in the future," Strauss said, adding, "I did everything legally and the right way."

Though Double Door had worked out a deal to stay through June, Strauss' lawyer, James McKay, said that Mulroney had missed multiple deadlines to post a portion of a $468,000 appeal bond ordered by Cook County Circuit Judge Orville Hambright Jr. on Oct. 31, 2016.

Additionally, Double Door has not paid "use and occupancy" fees to Strauss for use of the building in January or February, McKay said.

McKay said that if Double Door had paid the appeal bond ordered by Hambright, the club would have been allowed to stay through June.

"Here we are on the 6th of February, the sheriff's out there. Brian and the Strauss family did everything right and legal and went through the court system. Double Door just decided to follow their own rules. If anybody is upset that Double Door is being evicted, they have nobody to blame but the owners of Double Door," McKay said.

Music lovers were quick to lament on social media the closing of the club in Wicker Park.

"sad, sad day in chicago music scene," one person tweeted.

On the club's Facebook page, one fan wrote, "DD was an icon of real music. Those of us lucky enough to have experienced the energy of that room on one of those special nights are undoubtedly better for it. Can't wait to see what's next."

Strauss, whose family has owned the building since 1977, said he did not have any immediate tenants to replace the club.

"We will be working on putting something in that's favorable to the community. At this time we do not have anything locked in," Strauss said.

Strauss said that the club can get its belongings back through the legal process.

"We don’t want any of their items; we don’t want any of their belongings. No one is allowed on the premises. Double Door can, under the law, coordinate a date and a time to get their stuff and personal property back," he said.

Bands that are scheduled to perform at the Double Door in the coming weeks said they haven't been contacted by the club and are unsure if the shows will be rescheduled to another venue. A few of them said they assume the shows are still happening unless they're told otherwise.

No Men, an Austin, Texas-based noise rock band scheduled to perform there Monday, has moved its show to Emporium's Wicker Park location, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave., according to a Facebook post.

But Sean McConnell of the local band Cold Country said his show, which is scheduled for Thursday, is still on. After news broke of the eviction, McConnell said he reached out to his contact at the Double Door who told him his show hasn't been canceled — at least not yet.

The eviction could accelerate the move to Logan Square, which has been in the works for months. News broke of the owners' interest in the building at 2551 N. Milwaukee Ave. in late September. Since then, the owners have urged neighbors to support the move through fliers and community meetings.

New Era Chicago, the developer that owns the bank building, declined to comment Monday afternoon on whether the eviction would accelerate a move to Logan Square. However, sources say the Double Door owners are still considering the Logan Square location despite opposition from immediate neighbors.

Double Door eviction. [Provided]

Related coverage:

Double Door Can Stay In Wicker Park Building Past Dec. 31, Judge Rules (Nov. 1)

Double Door Petitions Neighbors to Support Logan Square Move (Oct. 14)

Is Double Door Leaving Wicker Park for Logan Square? (Sept. 23)

Double Door Can Stay Through End of Year, Judge Rules (Aug. 15)

Double Door Eviction Fight Drags on As Judge Seeks Ruling (June 22)

Double Door Eviction Case Delayed Again, Will New Twist Save Club? (June 20)

Double Door Eviction Trial Ends, Judge Could Rule By Monday (June 14) 

Double Door Should Get Zoning Change, Alderman Says, But It's Not Clear Why (June 2)

Double Door Landlord Tells Club to Get Out on First Day of Trial (May 18)

Double Door Eviction Case Still In Limbo, 'Pretrial Talks' Continued (May 12)

Double Door Lawyer 'Hopeful' Club Stays As Case Heads to Trial (April 12)

Double Door Eviction Delayed as Court Fight Continues (Jan. 27)

Double Door Eviction Fight: Music to Continue as Case Drags On (Jan. 8)

Double Door Building Sale to Downtown Investors Underway, Records Show (Jan. 5)

Double Door's Landlord Could be Close to Selling Iconic Club's Building (Dec. 17, 2015)

Lawyer in Double Door Eviction Case: 'Time for Them to Go' (Dec. 10, 2015)

Double Door Liquors, Iconic Wicker Park Music Venue, Facing Eviction (Dec. 3, 2015)

Vintage Bass Guitar Missing After Double Door Owner Plays Diabetes Benefit (June 19, 2015)

Friends Rally to Help Double Door Worker Facing $46,000 on Medical Bills (Dec. 5, 2014)

Double Door to Open Third Entrance For First Time (July 10, 2013)