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City investigates possible indoor dining violation after fire at Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse

Spokesmen for the police and fire departments could not immediately clarify whether the famed restaurant was seating indoor or outdoor diners; a Fire Department tweet said “patrons” were evacuated safely.

Firefighters respond to Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse, 1028 N. Rush St., Jan. 13, 2021.
Firefighters respond to Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse, 1028 N. Rush St., Jan. 13, 2021.
Chicago Fire Department

City officials were investigating possible COVID-19 violations after a fire at Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse forced patrons to evacuate the famed Gold Coast restaurant Wednesday night.

The fire started about 9 p.m. in a second-floor fireplace and was quickly extinguished, leaving damage only to the walls and ceiling, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

A tweet from the fire department said no one was injured and that patrons were evacuated safely.

Spokesmen for the police and fire departments would not clarify whether the Gold Coast restaurant was seating outdoor or indoor diners. Statewide Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions and the local stay-at-home order — recently extended to Jan. 22 — ban indoor seating.

The Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is investigating any possible coronavirus restriction violations, according to agency spokesman Isaac Reichman.

However, the agency had already investigated Gibson’s less than a week before the fire and found them in compliance with COVID-19 regulations, Reichman said in an email.

He noted that, while indoor dining is prohibited, indoor tables are allowed if they were within 8 feet of a wall that is 50% open to the outdoors.

Gibson’s spokesperson Liz Lombardo Stark said the restaurant is “fully compliant with current seating regulations” and that they’ve passed several routine city inspections over the course of the pandemic.

“We are confident that any further inspection will produce the same results,” Lombardo Stark said in an email.