Over the weekend, the Chicago location of the Cauldron — the fantasy-inspired cocktail lounge founded in England — closed at the corner of Ashland and Division. The bar debuted in May 2023 inside the basement space that formerly housed the Bedford.

An online announcement didn’t provide a reason for the closure. Locations in New York, Philadelphia, London, Brighton, and Edinburgh remain. The location may have been hindered by road construction and the loss of a neighboring CVS, which decreased foot traffic at 1612 W. Division Street.

The building, across from the Polish Triangle intersection of Milwaukee, Division, and Ashland, is a relic of Chicago history. Crew erected the building in 1926 for the Home Bank and Trust Company. Tenants, including the Cauldron, have used the bank safe — it’s not like they could remove it. The vault, adorned by safety deposit boxes, has provided a unique backdrop for customers sipping cocktails. The building also has an empty rooftop space that would be ideal for a bar with unobstructed views of the city.

The Cauldron attempted to endear itself to Chicagoans with a special Jeppson’s Malört drink list. The bar began as a Kickstarter campaign. Though Harry Potter fans flocked to the space, filled with magic wands and special potions, the bars’ ownership distanced itself from the franchise. Regardless of any copyrights, J.K. Rowling’s history of transphobic statements ran against the owners’ desire to create an inclusive business.

With the Cauldron’s closure, the large subterranean space with potential will soon go back on the market. In the right hands (not Voldemort’s), it could thrive. Stay tuned for any developments.

2024-06-17T15:31:03Z dg43tfdfdgfd