Southport Lanes & Billiards
We’re back! Well, sort of. We’ll be opening the sidewalk cafe as well as limited seating indoors. We hope to see all our neighborhood supporters enjoy food & drinks inside SPL and to-go. Unfortunately, neither bowling nor billiards will be available. Please understand these games increase the safety risk to both our customers and staff. We will be doing everything we can to keep everyone as safe as possible during this time. Expect some changes with the same great service. See you soon!
We’re operating on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A Brief History…
Southport Lanes, first named The Nook, was built by the Schlitz Brewery sometime around 1900. Schlitz built several brew houses throughout Chicago and their buildings are marked by the Schlitz logo emblazoned on the facades. Federal laws later prohibited brewers from owning taverns.
In 1922, The Nook’s name was changed to Southport Lanes and the 4 hand-set bowling lanes were added. Sometime during the 20’s, the tavern became a speakeasy with a brothel upstairs. There is even a dumbwaiter still in existence which used to bring refreshments to the girls and their male clients. Legend has it that Mayor Anton Cermak used to hold a weekly poker game in one of the secret rooms.
After prohibition ended, a new building was constructed to the east of the bar room (currently used as a billiards room). Originally, this building housed a gambling facility with direct lines to tracks around the country. In essence, it was an illegal off track betting parlor. In the 50’s the room became a beer hall for rent and a local polling place.
Southport Lanes was extensively remodeled in 1991 and again in 2003 but always with an eye on preserving the timeless feel of a Chicago institution. Today we’re happy to have an extensive craft beer selection, fantastic bar fare and gaming for all your entertainment needs. Stop by and see us!