Division Street nightclub, scene of December drive-by, voluntarily closes after meeting with Chicago police, officials say

Play, the Division Street nightclub riddled with bullets fired by a drive-by gunman at Christmastime, is temporarily closing after management met with Chicago police leaders Tuesday, the local alderman says.

“In the aftermath of this discussion it was determined that Play Kitchen and Cocktails will immediately close their facility at 7 W. Division for a period of time to develop a new security plan and branding concept,” Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) told constituents in an email.

Bullet holes riddled the front glass of Play, 7 West Division, after a drive-by shooting in December 2021. Workers boarded up the window later in the day. | Provided

A police spokesperson said the move is a “self-closure by the business,” not a CPD summary closure or other action by the city.

“The amount of late-hour criminal activity associated with this business in recent months is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated by our community,” Hopkins continued. “We will continue to hold ownership accountable for their stated intention to improve the situation.”

On December 19, Chicago police said a drive-by gunman opened fire on a packed Division Street nightclub around 3 a.m., breaking a front window and damaging a TV inside the bar. But, miraculously, no injuries were reported. Surveillance video showed someone shooting at the bar from inside a newly-hijacked gray Mercedes SUV that rolled down the block.

CPD did not identify the bar by name, but bullet holes were visible in the club’s window before a board-up crew covered it with plywood. A video that circulated on social media showed a fight inside the bar that supposedly preceded the gunfire.

Play is not the only bar in hot water with the city. CPD Supt. David Brown summarily closed The Point in Wicker Park last month after it was the scene of two shootings.

In Lincoln Park, neighbors have complained to the city repeatedly about Dinner and a Movie at 2500 North Ashland. Then, shots were fired outside the venue following a fight last June. Police temporarily closed the bar, but it re-opened after reaching an agreement with the city.

A huge brawl inside the bar was captured on video over the weekend, just days before management is to appear at a licensing hearing.

“It will be up to the liquor commissioner and a judge to decide what happens April 4th and after,” Ald. Scott Waguespack said in an email Monday. “They should have ample evidence to find the business causes a continued deleterious impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the community and the license could be revoked.”

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