And so it is. After a long and well-documented battle against current landlords, the owners of the Double Door were finally served an eviction notice, delivered by the sheriff who subsequently had the locks changed. So ends a chapter in the history of Wicker Park, once a bastion for local artistry, now simply a continuation of the nearby Loop that seems to be creeping increasingly upward along Milwaukee Ave.
The eviction notice comes after a long battle between Double Door co-owners Sean Mulroney and Joe Shanahan and landlord Brian Strauss that ends the illustrious history of the 23-year-old club just off the main corner in Wicker. The eviction comes as the stretch of Milwaukee Ave from Ashland Ave to California Ave has seen immense development of condos and luxury apartments. While the rising rents have seen the immigration of well-to-do families across the highway from Lincoln Park, it has in turn excavated the soul that made the location initially attractive. In many ways, the end of the Double Door simultaneously signals the end of Wicker Park as we once knew it.
The 550-capacity venue which has played host to the likes of the Rolling Stones, Kanye West, Chance The Rapper and many more names large and small that have come up and through the city over the past two decades now finds itself weighing its options for the future. Ironically, the answer might be just up Milwaukee Ave.
Mulroney and Shanahan announced plans to move locations just up the road to Logan Square, seemingly staying one notch of rope above the fire for the time being. While the transition to 2251 N. Milwaukee has been reported for several months now, it appears that the eviction notice has understandably sped up that process. According to a DNAInfo article, “On Monday evening, Mulroney told DNAinfo that plans are “moving forward” to reopen in Logan Square at 2551 N. Milwaukee Ave. and that he is planning to ask for permission from the Zoning Board of Appeals.”
While the prospects of a new space for the Double Door have yet to be vetted, the one thing we can be sure of is that Wicker Park lost a good portion of its character on February 7, 2017. Whether it be a Shake Shack or a new Gap store, the neighborhood won’t soon be the same, as it has for some time now. Meanwhile, the loss of the venue leaves the neighborhood with the Chop Shop, Subterranean and Emporium as the remaining venues for dedicated music acts. With the Congress still closed up the street, staples that once dominated local music culture seem to continue to take a back seat to new development.