Clark/Division: Blizzard Doesn't Slow Flow of Bar-Goers
Students Ben Dungar (left) and RJ Towner talk about how they
spent their snow days. (Photo by Alissa Lawlor)
By Alissa Lawlor
The Red Line Project
Posted: Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011
Snowpocalypse hit Chicago hard this week, but that didn't slow business at some downtown Chicago bars.
Against warnings from city officials not to go outside, the blizzard didn’t stop many 20-somethings and other bar-goers from getting to their drinking destinations. Near the Clark/ Division Red Line stop, the streets were barren but the bars were filled to the brim on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Michael Berrones, part of the door staff at Mother’s Too, a popular bar near Division and State streets, said the storm didn't cut into crowds.
“I’m not really sure of the usual Tuesday count but we did have a very high number ... it was a good night,” Berrones said Wednesday afternoon.
Schools and local businesses closed their doors early afternoon on Tuesday, while city officials urged people to stay indoors and only drive if absolutely necessary. According to ChicagoBusiness.com, by mid-morning on Tuesday O’Hare and Midway had canceled more than1,200 flights as precautionary measures, expecting the snowstorm to be the biggest the city has seen since 1967. (It turned out to be ranked third all-time behind 1967 and 1999.)
Workers use small plows to clear a walkway on State Street. (Photo by Alissa Lawlor)
Less than a mile east of the Rush and Division bar scene, more than 300 motorists were stranded Tuesday night on Lake Shore Drive as heavy snow, drifts, ice and 70 mph winds buried their cars in the northbound lanes. Even Metra trains were forced to cancel some of their outgoing trips because of the snow pile-ups on the tracks.
But Wednesday afternoon found the Gold Coast and Near North bars packed as well. Bars that normally service five to 12 patrons during the midday were packed, local bar staff said. According to Ben Dungar, a medical student and Gold Coast resident, he saw no reason not to be out partying and enjoying his day off and time with friends.
“I figure, the city’s shut down, I can’t even access my wi-fi, so we all might as well go out and drink together,” Dungar said. “This is aonce-in-a-lifetime type of snow day, and I’m proud to say it wont keep me shut in at home moping around.”
RJ Towner, a DePaul student, agreed. He was outside of The Lodge, another local bar across the street from Mother’s Too.
“Yeah, I feel like a kid or something. I’m all excited about this snow day," he said. "I’ve worked two weeks straight, this is my first day off, it’sawesome.”