"Chicago Fire" has been spending plenty of time filming in the Bucktown area the past few months — and the neighborhood has a nearly 80-year-old pub to thank for it.
The NBC drama needed a bar that would serve as a recurring setting throughout the rest of the first season and chose Lottie's Pub, 1925 W. Cortland St. in Bucktown. In the "Chicago Fire" storyline, the bar, known as Molly's on the show, caught on fire and was then sold to two firemen and a paramedic because the owner had grown tired of it.
"The show was looking for a corner tavern in the middle of a neighborhood," said Lottie's co-owner Mark Domitrovich, who claimed HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" once approached him about filming at the bar but nothing ever came of it. "That's a dying breed. They said we were the No. 1 pick and that they didn't have much of a backup."
To save time, the show searched for locations around Lottie's for other scenes. This is common practice for TV series given tight filming schedules. "Chicago Fire" executive producer Joe Chappelle said scenes have been filmed at nearby Club Lucky and 6 Degrees. According to 6 Degrees' Facebook page, their scene was later re-shot in another location and will not air.
Fox's "The Mob Doctor" and MTV's "Underemployed" also filmed in the Bucktown area last year before they were canceled, and "Transformers" star Shia LaBeouf shot a portion of the film "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" in the Bucktown area last July.
"It's a diverse neighborhood architecturally," Chappelle said of the appeal of filming in Bucktown. "There are small cottages next to million-dollar homes."
Domitrovich said "Chicago Fire" has already filmed at Lottie's six or seven times, including last week, and still has three more shoots to go. He has yet to hear of anyone visiting the bar because they're fans of the show, but that could change as the season goes on and the bar is feaured more prominently.
"People in Chicago like to see local landmarks — especially something that's part of a show," Domitrovich said. "It's a real thing, and not something on a stage. We'll have viewing parties for the later episodes. It's great for the bar. Everyone is getting a kick out of it, except for maybe the neighbors. They're upset about the parking."
Get ready: Actors Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort traveled to Chicago March 25 to prepare for the filming of futuristic sci-fi film "Divergent," they said on their Twitter feeds. Teller's agent, Tracy Brennan, tweeted that the actors took part in a table read that day. "Divergent" is expected to begin filming this month on location in Chicago and at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on the West Side.
Help wanted: If you have an unique item you want to sell, you could be featured on TruTV's "Hardcore Pawn: Chicago." The reality show, which stars the owners of Royal Pawn Shop in the South Loop, is looking for "unusual, valuable or weird" items. Interested? Call 312-720-8015 or email email@example.com. … Rapper Twista is looking for local female models and female skateboarders for his upcoming music video for "A.D.I.D.A.S.," which begins filming Tuesday. To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About this week: Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley are scheduled to appear Sunday at "The Vampire Diaries" convention taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Westin O'Hare hotel in Rosemont. … Hip-hop stars T-Pain, B.o.B and Twista will perform at the fourth annual Morning Riot anniversary party, hosted by WGCI-FM's Tony Sculfield, Thursday at V Live.
Sightings: The Miami Heat's LeBron James dined at RPM Italian Tuesday before attending a party hosted by teammate Dwyane Wade at Epic. Fellow Heat star Chris Bosh also attended the party and had lunch earlier that day at Siena Tavern. … Rapper Kid Cudi partied Friday at Board Room. … Steve Zahn ("Joy Ride") dined at Tavernita March 23 while in town to film the ABC pilot "Influence." Dina Manzo (Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey") dined March 20 at Tavernita. … Comedian Sarah Colonna (E!'s "Chelsea Lately") had dinner March 21 at Old Town Social before performing at nearby Zanies. … "X Factor" alums Emblem3 stayed at the Dana hotel while in town for their shows at the House of Blues Tuesday and Wednesday. … Retired Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis dined March 23 at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse in Rosemont. Future ex-Bear Brian Urlacher dined March 22 at Gibsons in Rosemont. … The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane was spotted March 24 at Gibsons in the Gold Coast, as was Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, and March 22 at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House.Copyright © 2015, RedEye