Cal's Bar, the lovable, grimy hole-in-the-wall at Wells and Van Buren, will officially be closing its doors on New Year's Day. Cal's has sat virtually unchanged in its corner of the South Loop for 65 years, refusing to back down to gentrification, remaining as dim and dirty as ever even as the high-rise condos started arriving. Unfortunately, the building that has housed the bar since 1947 was recently sold, and it turns out that the dive wasn't part of the property owner's future plans. Cal's announced last week that at closing time on New Year's Eve, their bartenders would be shouting "last call" for the final time.
Cal's Bar was best known as a meeting place for Loop-based bike messengers; in recent years, it's doubled as a musical venue, hosting punk gigs on weekend nights. Cal's will celebrate one last night of loud music and cheap drinks with a New Year's Eve/closing party, featuring performances by Mercy Mercy, Demerits, and the Larroquettes.
While it is undoubtedly sad to see a Chicago staple say goodbye, you gotta remember that when one door closes, another opens: the owners of Cal's have been commenting on Facebook that a new bar is in the works. Hopefully it will have the same gnarly charm as the South Loop gem.