South Loop Club has a new flex.
One of South Loop’s most treasured haunts down on 701 S. State Street has a new look courtesy of a group of local artists. South Loop Club, first opened in 1988, was one of the many stars of Chicago’s hospitality scene to resort to its outdoor space and create a streetside patio to keep business alive. The winterized patio first used scaffolding to create a cozy streetside den and it’s now has been given a fresh identity.
Ten Chicago-based artists have painted the enclosed walkway and patio with colorful designs and positive messages with the intention of reminding locals of the support bars and restaurants need during the unforgiving pandemic. Patios like the one outside South Loop Club are all that Chicago bars and restaurants have to go on now and making use of them despite the winter chill is, in some cases, our only hope of keeping them alive.
Nick Vranas, the owner of South Loop Club, said “If you look around, it would be hard to stay open without the outdoor winterized patio. I cannot just survive with carryout; it’s not all that.” According to Vranas, the unique project came to him while discussing the walkway’s potential with AA Restoration, the company that built the club’s winter patio.
The local artists have given the winterized space its own character not just with colorful murals and messages of hope but also with depictions of the bar’s signature offerings. With the help of his daughter, Vranas says the creation came about via social media and planning boards with local artists eager to be involved. Some were paid while others accepted the bar’s staple beers, wings, and burgers as a just exchange of talents.
Vranas wants to continue beautifying the patio space and is inviting more artists to paint the bar’s exterior panels with artwork that positive and colorful but not political. Vranas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for any artists interested in getting involved.
[All images from Instagram / @southloopclubchicago]