Owner Will Duncan in 2020, during Fitzgeralds Stay-at-Home concert series in Berwyn. | Alex Rogals

Alternative country singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless will not be performing as planned at FitzGerald’s over New Year’s weekend, but the beloved Berwyn club will remain open to vaccinated patrons. Guests can also book space at FitzGerald’s for private events.

Loveless’s concerns regarding COVID-19 and traveling prompted the cancelation of the two-night live music event, according to FitzGerald’s owner Will Duncan.

“The decision to cancel the Lydia Loveless concert was more for the artist’s comfort,” said Duncan.

Tickets have been refunded, but the concert will be rescheduled for some time this spring. In the meantime, those who wish to ring in the new year at FitzGerald’s can still do so, provided they show proof of vaccination.

“We’re comfortable being open with the proof of vaccination requirement that Cook County has mandated and mask policies in place,” said Duncan.

The club’s Sidebar and the attached Babygold Barbecue restaurant will remain open to customers. The FitzGerald’s Sidebar has a cocktail lounge-meets-jukebox joint vibe perfect for a night out on the town, while Babygold serves up chef-driven barbecue. Babygold is still accepting reservations for New Year’s Eve.

“We’re open for takeout and delivery, which might be a really nice way to celebrate at home with an indulgent meal of excellent barbecue delivered to your door on New Year’s Eve,” said Duncan.

FitzGerald’s has been struggling to get by due to COVID-19. Duncan told Wednesday Journal the club has had low turnouts and difficulty finding musical acts. The virus has also caused many musicians to back out of performances. Keeping the restaurant and Sidebar open is necessary for the business.

“We just can’t afford to close completely,” he said.

These tough times have prompted Duncan to get creative. FitzGerald’s is offering private bookings for small-scale private events. Called “Experience FitzGerald’s,” small groups can reserve a night at the club to watch a movie or a filmed concert on the club’s big screen.

“We can even put together a small concert with a local singer songwriter or a performing artist as well,” said Duncan.

FitzGerald’s began renting space out last winter, which helped to bring in a “meager” amount of revenue that kept the club afloat through the cold months, according to Duncan.

Duncan understands some people are hesitant to go out for fear of catching COVID-19. He said that the club’s staff is diligent when it comes to mask usage and is very focused on requiring proof of vaccination for everyone who sets foot in FitzGerald’s.

“I think we’ve earned a reputation for being very safe through this pandemic,” he said. “And we want to maintain that.”

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