Sidetrack enjoys busy four-day Memorial Day weekend, particularly Sunday Funday

Thu. June 3, 2021 6:20 AM by Ross Forman

sidetrack enjoys busy four-day memorial day weekend

photo credit // sidetrack

"Some customers were actually quite emotional, as this weekend was their first time back in over 14 months," says Sidetrack's Brad Balof

Despite none of the normal Memorial Day weekend shenanigans -- IML and the Grabby Awards -- that flood Chicago, particularly the Lakeview neighborhood, it seemed like business as usual at Sidetrack, where it was a full-house for four consecutive nights, starting Thursday and running through Sunday Funday and its traditional Show Tunes.

Sunday was the busiest Sidetrack day, and night, of the weekend.

”It's so nice to welcome back our customers without restrictions, as long as customers show proof of vaccination upon entering," said Sidetrack general manager Brad Balof. "Customers (were) very excited to be back as well.

"It was very crowded (all weekend).”

Balof said the energy inside the iconic Chicago bar was “palpable."

"Some customers were actually quite emotional, as this weekend was their first time back in over 14 months. It was also emotional for the staff members to reconnect with their regulars," he said.

On Friday (May 28), despite the chilly temperatures outside and rain, "people were ready to come out and have a great time," Balof said. "One of the great obstacles was to get coat check ready at a moment's notice once we realized the weather was going to do what weather can do in Chicago in May—swing wildly (within hours).”

The weather changed, again, on Saturday -- to near perfection, which led to a large contingent enjoying Sidetrack's outdoor, upstairs deck.

Sunday Funday, of course, featured a return of the Sunday night staple at Sidetrack:  the napkin-toss, sing-along, shout-outs.  Sidetrack was busy until close on Sunday.

"For me, the highlight was seeing the staff getting right back into what we know how to do so well in the way that we are most comfortable doing it—creating a great bar and nightlife experience for customers," Balof said. "It (was) emotional. When I took a moment to think about where we are and look back to think about all that the staff has had to go through over the past 14 months to work through the uncertainty, the ever-changing restrictions, and the fact that we literally served out of (a) tent in the freezing February weather, it makes me realize how resilient the team here really is.”

Some customers who had been vaccinated from COVID-19 arrived at Sidetrack without proof of their vaccine card, Balof confirmed. Otherwise, there were very few issues all weekend, he added.

Balof said Sidetrack will see a gradual return of its favorite programming, such as, Dog Days and Outspoken in July, plus a customer appreciation party, private events, and more.

Sidetrack will be revisiting one of its favorite past themes this year: Camp Sidetrack.

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