Chicago Club That Hosted Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox Shut Down

Josh Wink, Oliver Lieb, Dave Siska shows moved as Karma faces possibility of permanent closure by city.

The recent closing of a notorious Chicago nightclub could mean the end of an era for dance music in the city.

Karma, whose Medusa Thursdays drew such major DJs as Fatboy Slim and Carl Cox, was shut down by the city Feb. 23, after its liquor license was revoked for the second time in less than a year.

Several other clubs in Chicago have picked up performances originally scheduled for Karma, including the Metro, which hosted the Lithium Tour, with Oliver Lieb and Dave Siska, on Saturday.

"I am concerned any time the club scene loses a component," Metro owner Joe Shanahan said. "Karma has done a great job bringing top DJ talent to the city."

But, Shanahan added, "I do not think it is a surprise to anyone that they are closed. The place had quite a reputation."

Most recently, the three-level dance club was charged with selling alcohol to an intoxicated customer, failing to "aid ... an incapacitated individual" and failing to "aid ... or call the police regarding a battery victim," Gregory Steadman, executive legal council for the Mayor's License Commission, said. "Since that was their second revocation within a 12-month period, under the law, you are closed even if you are appealing it."

Karma was previously cited on June 1, 1999, for several reasons, Steadman said, including not having a state or city liquor license in one room and not notifying the city or state of an ownership change. The club was able to stay open while appealing the charges.

The club's owners did not respond to repeated phone calls for comment.

A third case against Karma, for allegedly selling alcohol to minors and having minors on the premises, is pending. A hearing before the Mayor's License Commission is scheduled for April 7, Steadman said.

If they lose their appeals, Karma owners Srinivas Reddy and Rakesh Thakkar will be barred permanently from getting liquor licenses. The building, at 318 Grand Ave., would not be allowed to serve alcohol for one year from the time of the most recent revocation.

Karma was shut down the night before DJs Josh Wink and Doc Martin were to appear. Organizers were able to move that show to rival club Crobar, which is temporarily hosting Medusa Thursdays.

"Right now it doesn't look too hot," a former Karma DJ named Bear Who? told the Chicago weekly Newcity about the club's future.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Karma recently had installed a $60,000 sound and laser system.