Renaissance Bronzeville, the popular restaurant, sports bar and entertainment lounge on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, was recently cited for violating the city’s COVID-19 restrictions.
The venue at 4641 S. King Drive was among eight restaurants and bars throughout Chicago that investigators say were not enforcing social distancing rules and requiring patrons to wear face masks.
Renaissance Bronzeville was cited during an inspection conducted by investigators with the Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department (BACP), of 73 businesses, March 4 to March 7.
City officials did not say whether Renaissance Bronzeville received fines for the violations. Businesses found violating COVID-19 restrictions could face a fine of up to $10,500. Subsequent violations could result in closure.
The Crusader sent an email and left a message with Renaissance Chicago but had not heard back from them by press time Wednesday, March 17, for the print edition.
Renaissance Bronzeville was not the only venue on the South Side cited for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
East Side Sharks at 100 E. 79th St. in Chatham was cited for allegedly failing to require employees to wear face masks or coverings.
Kids Empire, a child play center at 4938 S. Kedzie Ave., was cited after inspectors say it exceeded capacity limits by allowing over 100 patrons.
On the West Side, Luigi’s Pizza at 4210 W. Madison St., was cited for failing to require employees to wear face masks.
“BACP is cautioning businesses that it is their responsibility to keep their workers and patrons safe by adhering to all regulations, including the requirement to have patrons seated in socially distanced tables whenever eating or drinking,” said spokesperson Isaac Reichman.
“As we continue to expand reopening, it is critical that businesses do not lose sight of all the health regulations, not just the capacity limits, that keep our community safe.”
Earlier this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot eased restrictions on capacity limits to city bars and restaurants. Venues are now allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is less.
Last December, Woodlawn’s historic Grand Ballroom and the Black Cat Lounge in Morgan Park were issued citations for violating the city’s restrictions on gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. They both reopened weeks later. The Grand Ballroom was closed for several weeks after inspectors found that the venue hosted an event where 200 people were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
A popular venue among patrons of all ages and cultures, Renaissance Bronzeville occupies the former Jokes and Notes Comedy Club, which closed in 2016 after 11 years in business. It was Chicago’s only Black-owned comedy club, which closed its doors after years of declining attendance and rising overhead costs.
With its thumping house music, Renaissance Bronzeville draws huge crowds during the week and the weekends. The facility also hosts wedding receptions, birthday parties, and live events. It has a back patio with a fire pit that operates during the summer. There is an additional bar in that area.