Circuit Nightclub closed over owner dispute

Sat. November 3, 2012 3:57 PM by News Staff

Patrick Harms refutes claims raised by Mike Macharello

Chicago, IL - Circuit Nightclub, 3641 N. Halsted St., is temporarily closed over an apparent dispute between co-owners Mike Macharello and Patrick Harms. first reported Friday that the Boystown mainstay had closed after Macharello posted a statement alleging that the property landlord had dramatically raised the rent for the space.

"My landlord continues to raise the rent on us by thousands of dollars and all the money you spend at Circuit, the majority goes to him. I do not want that for myself, for you or the future of Circuit," Macharello wrote in a statement posted on the club's website and Facebook page. (Update and retraction below)

In response to an inquiry by, Franklin L. Friedman of Sterling Properties, which manages the building, called Macharello's implication that Circuit closed because rent had been increased "absolutely and completely false."

Friedman told that Patrick Harms, not Macharello is the tenant of the building. He said the building ownership enjoys a "close and harmonious" business relationship with Harms, who is listed as co-owner of Circuit on the club's website.

On Saturday Harms confirmed that he is the leaseholder of the property and maintains an "excellent working relationship with Mr. Friedman and his family." Harms said that in August 2010 he negotiated a significant rent reduction because of the economy.

According to Harms, Macharello removed the business licenses from the Circuit premises on Nov. 1 because of a "serious disagreement over administrative and operational concerns."

"Despite my best efforts to reach to an amicable solution, Mike and I have been unable to find common ground," said Harms, who also serves as board president for the Northalsted Business Alliance.

In his statement, Macharello said Circuit will be closed until further notice, but he promised to reopen a new and improved bar dubbed "Circuit 5.0" when the issues are resolved. contacted Macharello for comment but as of publication have received no response.

Circuit Nightclub began 16 years ago as Halsted Street Café and had grown to become one of the largest dance clubs in Boystown. Circuit closed for renovations in 2004 and reopened in March 2005 after enduring battles over noise levels, a threat of a dry precinct vote and six months of renovations.

According to Cook County Assessor and Recorder documents, the 11,925 sq. ft. property owned by Halsted Sterling Venture, LLC is tax valued at $288,422.00.

UPDATE (6:05 PM 11/4/2012): New signs indicate further financial trouble for Macharello as debt holders have apparently seized Circuit Nightclub and Boi Magazine, which is also owned by Macharello.

"As a matter of public notice: As of November 1, 2012 all assets of Michael Macharello d/b/a Circuit Nightclub have been seized by first position debt holders," read a message at

A similar message was posted to the Boi Magazine website.

"Effective November 1, 2012 Boi Magazine is no longer under the control of Michael A. Macharello," read a message at

Boi Magazine is a bi-weekly magazine published Macharello. No word on the future of the LGBT publication as calls by to Boi Magazine went unreturned.

Editor's Note: (2/7/2013)
Mike Macharello contacted to retract and clarify a previous statement made about his landlord.

"It was erroneous on my part to either state of infer that Frank Friedman and Sterling properties raised the rent any more than was commensurable with current area market and times. It was further erroneous to either state or infer that this was the cause of the closing but rather that the closing was caused by many factors, many of which included a depressed economy. While most consumers these days are looking for bargains and cheaper prices, the fact is that supplies, inventory, utilities, taxes, licenses, payroll and other costs associated with doing business, all continue to rise. For most businesses it's a challenge to bridge the gap between rising costs and offering competitive prices to their customers. Circuit was no exception. However, throughout my 15 year relationship with Sterling, Frank has always done his utmost to work with me and my colleagues in order to perpetuate Circuit nightclub. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize If I have said or inferred anything which was looked on as detrimental to Frank Friedman and/or Sterling Properties," wrote Macharello.