A shakeup at Rogers Park gay bar The Glenwood has sent employees and patrons reeling, just days after the closure of one of the owner's other bars.
Renee Labrana and Colm Treacy, co-owners of the The Glenwood, 6962 N. Glenwood Ave., have apparently parted ways, leaving Treacy with sole responsibility of the bar just days after his other bar, T's, was evicted.
According to Rick Nyman, a former bartender at The Glenwood, Treacy called the bartenders April 3 to let them know that he and Labrana had split ways. All bartenders except for Nyman were allowed to keep their jobs, Nyman said.
Nyman said he and Labrana are longtime friends, and he was let go due to his loyalty to Labrana.
"It's been tense between them for a long time," said Nyman, adding that employees had long anticipated the split.
Nyman declined to comment on the reason for the fallout between Treacy and Labrana.
The split appears to have occurred while Labrana is vacationing out of the country, leaving employees questioning the timing Treacy's announcement.
Treacy did not respond to requests to comment. Labrana, who is reportedly still out of town, could not be reached for comment either.
The Glenwood, a neighborhood bar just five years old, has fast become a community fixture, both for LGBT and heterosexual Rogers Park residents.
"It wasn't just a bar," said Julio Perez, a regular. "It was a Rogers Park living room."
Many patrons credit Labrana with creating that environment. While Treacy owned T's and other local businesses, most associated Lambrana with The Glenwood, Perez and Nyman said. They say that the split changes the culture of The Glenwood.
"They ripped out a huge chunk of the heart and soul of that bar," said Perez.
A private Facebook group in support of Labrana had gathered 315 members by April 4.
On April 3, regulars of the bar gathered at Parlour, another North Side gay bar, to show support for Nyman and Labrana. About 16 attended the informal meeting.
Less than two miles away, The Glenwood remained open for business.
The fallout at The Glenwood comes just days after T's Restaurant, Treacy's popular Andersonville bar, was shuttered by the Cook County Sheriff's Office in an eviction case.
Like T's, The Glenwood had attracted a strong crowd of loyal LGBT customers.
A year ago, Treacy reflected on that success in an interview with Windy City Times.
"The Glenwood has been a huge anchor to the neighborhood with a real mixed audience. It's been more than I ever expected it to be," Treacy said. "I didn't realize how the neighborhood was going to totally embrace The Glenwood, and they really have. From the [area] alderman to the Rogers Park Business Alliance to so many others. It has lent itself to being a real anchor of the community."