CHICAGO - After nearly four decades, a Lakeview nightclub is turning off the strobe lights for good.
Berlin Nightclub on Belmont posted on social media Tuesday night saying the party is over.
The club says it's closing its doors because of rising costs, citing increased security, licensing and insurance.
Unite Here Local 1, which represents the club's employees, had been in negotiations for about six months. They believe the closure was the wrong decision.
"Berlin’s owners decided to close rather than offer us more than minimum wage. We decided to organize the union at Berlin Nightclub because queer and trans workers are worth more than that. That was true then. It is still true today," said Jolene Saint, club bartender.
Although the lights are still on, its 20-plus employees are now out of jobs. It comes nearly a month after workers organized a boycott demanding health insurance and a wage increase.
The historic bar located at Belmont and Sheffield was a staple in Lakeview and a safe haven for the LGBTQ community for four decades. They would host live performances, featuring prominent Drag Queens.
Residents said years ago there would be a line down the block to get inside. However, foot traffic as of lately has dwindled.
Unite Here Local 1 posted on their IG page in part, "the workers are heartbroken to hear of the owners' decision to permanently and abruptly close the historic institution. This is the wrong decision."
FOX 32's attempts to reach the owners for further comment were unsuccessful.
Berlin has been in operation on the city's North Side since 1983.
Berlin signed off with a statement:
"The party ended at 5am, November 19, 2023 – nearly forty years and more than 10,000 nights from when it all began. The final chapter will surely be written by the essayists, the journalists, and memorialized in tribute events and documentaries but the magic that happened at 954 W. Belmont will never be recreated. It couldn't be. It was a remarkable tornado of talented performers and staff, inspired friends and customers, a crazy location and a lot of dreams. The expenses of increased security, insurance and licensing, equipment, rent and more cannot be overestimated and we could not imagine morphing the bar into a bottle service, VIP area venue. So the doors are locked. The music is silenced and our dreams are now memories. We hope you made some memories with us and that you smile when they visit you. The first ads in 1983 announced Berlin to the Neighborhood Bar of the Future. Unfortunately, the future is now and it's time for us to go home."