Massive holiday display in West Town deflated after officials said it was in violation of city ordinance

A massive holiday display in West Town has been deflated after officials said it was in violation of a city ordinance.

Officials with the Chicago Department of Transportation said the decorations were so big, they were posing a hazard to drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

But, the owner of the Irish Nobleman Pub, where the display is featured, is fighting back – questioning why it was never an issue in the past.

The array of inflatables at the corner of Noble and Erie is usually hard to miss.

"We have about 20, some of them are 20 feet tall," said Declan Morgan, owner of the Irish Nobleman Pub.

On Friday, it was a different sight – the jolly figurines were slumped to the ground. 

"If we didn’t take it down, they’d have to write a ticket so when my manager called I said, ‘take it right down,’" said Morgan.

Morgan said he debuted the display in 2020 to brighten spirits during the pandemic.


For the third year in a row, the display went up after Halloween.

However, just a few weeks until Christmas, Morgan said an inspector with the Chicago Department of Transportation came knocking.

"He said Alderman Daniel La Spata sent him over here, and he has a problem with it," said Morgan.

Alderman La Spata told FOX 32 Chicago in a statement that he doesn't have a problem with the bar, but did notify CDOT of a "potential public way issue."

In a statement, a spokesperson with CDOT said the decorations were "blocking lines of sight for people driving, walking, and biking."

The CDOT statement also said: "The restaurant owners were asked to remove the objects, which are in violation of the municipal code, to ensure the safety and accessibility of all road users."

Morgan disagrees with their call and said it's never been an issue in previous seasons.

"People actually slow down to see it," said Morgan. "We’re a small business just trying to survive and this is one of the things that helps attract people to our business."

CDOT officials told FOX 32 Chicago that any decorations not blocking the public way can be re-inflated.

The bar's owner said he's going to contact his attorney this weekend and plans to re-inflate the entire display in the coming days –whether or not he receives a fine.