OLD TOWN—The owners of Chicago restaurant Lan’s Old Town have been forced to temporarily close the restaurant after a gruesome discovery was made during a clandestine after-hours party this weekend. As the party raged into the early hours of the morning on Sunday, the packed crowd inside the building slowly realized that the dancefloor supporting them was composed of the previous weekend’s partygoers, now laid low with COVID-19.
According to neighbors, Lan’s has long been notorious for its late-night, boozy atmosphere; the restaurant’s website even advertises “wild BYOB party nights on the weekends.” According to neighbors, Lan’s owners Jimmy and Jeffery Ma have continued to host large private events despite city mandates banning high occupancy indoors during the pandemic. “It’s certainly been wild over there at night,” said neighbor Justin Brittany, 35, “but we were wondering why we kept hearing low moans coming from the restaurant during the daytime. Someone should have done something.” That mystery was solved on Saturday, when a shocking video posted to Reddit showed the horrifying moment Lan’s patrons realized they were unwittingly dancing upon the bodies of the previous weekend’s reckless revelers.
In the video, which was deleted shortly after it was posted, the patrons pass a shared bottle of vodka around for a moment before their attention slowly moves to the floor. The camera pans down to a carpet of wheezing, COVID-stricken partiers heaped beneath the patrons’ feet. After initially reacting in horror, a still-dancing patron halfheartedly offers a shot to one of the pallid, semi-flattened figures beneath him. Surprisingly, the figure nevertheless seems to feebly accept the drink with a low five before losing consciousness. The standing patrons look at each other and shrug, at which point the video ends.
In an interview from the pavement outside Lan’s, one of the unfortunate former partiers hoarsely told the Genius Herald that he had no idea this would happen. “I was so impressed with the new plush carpeting when I came here. Especially given that no Chicago restaurants have been given any meaningful financial cushion to survive this pandemic,” said Peter Redezka, 30, weakly. After stopping to take several labored breaths beneath a footprint-covered puffer jacket, Redezka continued, barely above a whisper. “Little did I know that coming here with over 60 other people would lead to me contracting COVID nearly instantaneously and keeling over where I stood, to serve as yet another immediately ignored warning sign for Chicago’s seemingly insatiable hordes of partiers.”
“Honestly, though, I’m just bummed I don’t have the energy to move from this spot now that it’s been blown up,” Redezka concluded with a faint, dry cough. “The parties down in Wicker sound like a LIT place to perish.”
Reached for comment, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection told the Chicago Genius Herald that the BACP was not aware of the accumulating layers of humanity depositing on the Lan’s floor before the video surfaced. “I’m shocked, in fact, that the BACP had not been made aware of these raucous and publicly advertised events prior to this weekend,” said said Reena Nowicki, 44, a BACP spokesperson. “However, in our initial findings this week, we’ve already found layers of people going several weekends back, not unlike some sort of sedimentary rock.”With this “troubling trend emerging,” Nowicki emphasizes that her organization is “working hard” to find businesses that are flaunting COVID regulations.
In the meantime, Lan’s owners hope that the community will forgive them as they “consider their options,” according to Jeffery Ma. “We know this wasn’t right, but we don’t know what else to do. We’re caught between a rock and a hard place here,” Ma told the Genius Herald.
“At least we know our floor is soft, though.”