Chicago’s Jackhammer struggling to stay open

CHICAGO — News broke over the weekend that The Jackhammer Complex, home of The Hole bar, host of both Mr. Fetish Jackhammer and Mr. Leather 64TEN, and the Leather 64TEN leather store, is facing closure in the next month.

According to a press release, the mortgage on the building has been bought by an out-of-state capital fund who has foreclosed. Illinois foreclosure law allows the new owner to terminate all current commercial leases and demand immediate possession. This means the building where The Jackhammer Complex and Leather64TEN reside needs immediate rescue.

The local management company hired by the new owners to facilitate the complete re-tenanting of the building understand the importance of these long term businesses to the community. However, there are only 35 days to find a new buyer before the evictions start to take place. Broker Laura Rahilly, from Rahilly and Associates with Coldwell Banker, was retained to find the right buyer on a very aggressive timeline.

“It would be a shame to see two such iconic businesses in the LGBTQ community ended from an out-of-town corporation motivated only by money. I am confident that someone will see the value of preserving these businesses while acquiring a great building and investment opportunity,” said in the press release.

In the past decade, the complex has become part of a LGBTQ core in the area, with the Leather Archives & Museum two blocks to the east, Howard Brown Clark and the Gerber-Hart Library just a block north and leather bar Touche just next door. The LGBTQ and leather residential population in the area has also been rising in recent years.

Jimmy Keup, owner of Jackhammer, and Eric Kugelman of Leather64TEN, are hoping for an angel investor to buy the building. The store would be able to move to another space nearby, but Jackhammer also holds one of the few 4 a.m. liquor licenses in Chicago. If it closes, the license will not transfer. The city would lose on of the few late-night, leather friendly spaces in the city.

Anyone with sales leads are encouraged to contact Laura Rahilly at or call  773-490-0418. There is also a petition to bring attention to the plight of the complex. As of around noon on Monday, more than 560 had signed it. You can also donate to help save the space.