PALATINE, Ill. (WLS) -- The owners of a popular venue for music, food, and drinks in the northwest suburbs are planning to tear it down.
Durty Nellie's is located in downtown Palatine and has been in operation for five decades. It will be replaced with a mixed-use building, but that doesn't mean the popular Irish pub is going away.
The stage at Durty Nellie's has been one of the top music venues in the northwest suburbs for decades, featuring local bands and national acts.
A fire in 2019 destroyed the kitchen and they had to close for several months. They reopened a couple months before the pandemic brought the concert business to a halt.
And now in today's music industry, the owners are finding out the room is too small for most national acts, and too big for most local bands.
"We're kind of at a crossroads," co-owner Jim Dolezal said. "It's hard to fill this place, so it's empty a lot of the time."
With Durty Nellie's struggling, they plan close and build an 85-unit apartment complex with retail on the first floor. It all sits right next to a Metra stop, making it convenient for commuters who work downtown.
"Makes Palatine's downtown more vibrant, brings more populations to downtown to drive more business," developer Jonathan Payne said.
The Palatine City Council narrowly approved plans for the new building at Monday night's council meeting. Some expressed concerns about parking congestion, though a large city-owned parking garage sits adjacent to the property.
Architect Jim Tinaglia is drawing up plans for the new building, which will include a smaller Durty Nellie's restaurant. But he also plays in a band, Exit, that has performed onstage here.
"Durty Nellie's is a staple," Tinaglia said. "It is a venue that is iconic in the music entertainment industry here locally in the Midwest."
While a big music room is not part of the plans for the new development, they do still have bands booked here for the next several months - and they also plan to have music on a small stage in the next Durty Nellie's.