Dan Levy, co-creator of and co-star on award-winning sitcom Schitt’s Creek, took to social media Monday afternoon to tell fans that he and his team have nothing to do with a Chicago bar’s pop-up. In a post that appeared on Instagram and Twitter, Levy wrote that he appreciates the enthusiasm, but that “the event isn’t sanctioned by Schitt’s Creek,” warning that “rumors of cast attending are untrue.” In the midst of the pandemic — when going to a bar is considered a risky activity — Levy also encouraged “all to keep making choices that do not risk the health & safety of themselves and others.”
Heard about a Schitt’s-inspired pop up happening in Chicago. I appreciate the enthusiasm but the event isn’t sanctioned by Schitt’s Creek and rumors of cast attending are untrue. Encouraging all to keep making choices that do not risk the health & safety of themselves and others.— dan levy (@danjlevy) February 15, 2021
Replay Lincoln Park, which Levy did not mention by name, is an arcade bar that over the last few years has specialized in unauthorized pop-ups. These productions are limited engagements, and often, they’re over before a legal challenge can be mounted. In the past, Replay has mined pop-culture properties like Friends, Game of Thrones, and Rick and Morty. On Friday, the bar unveiled its latest production, “Schitt Happens,” meant to remind fans of settings like Rose Apothecary, Rosebud Motel, and Cafe Tropical. Tickets, which cost $20, are sold out until Sunday, February 24, and the pop-up is set to last through April 1.
Levy’s tweet won over fans, who questioned Replay’s motives — some suggested legal action. The bar has marked its reservations page with an all-caps disclaimer: “*THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL SCHITT’S CREEK EVENT.” A since-deleted reply to Levy sent from the bar’s Twitter account claimed Replay is following Chicago safety guidelines — including limiting capacity to 25 people per room and enforcing social-distancing rules and mask wearing. The tweet also noted COVID-19’s impact on the bar industry, writing: “We’re just trying to survive, business down 90% for almost 1 year.”
Another tweet, from someone who claims to work for Replay, asked Levy and his fans for empathy: “I work there. Should I just not keep paying my rent? My bills? Shall I just go buy a tent and set up in the snowstorm?”
Replay owner Mark Kwiatkowski canceled a Tuesday morning interview due to a family matter. On Monday night, the same person alleging to work for Replay tweeted that the bar was working with Schitt’s Creek’s production company on some sort of resolution.
Chicago has become known for pop-culture pop-ups, with bars across the city seizing opportunities to use nostalgia to attract customers for a little fun. A Saved by the Bell pop-up that started in 2016 rolled out a blueprint. NBC sanctioned that pop-up, and the ’90s show’s stars made cameos in Chicago and LA as part of the marketing effort. Other bars across the country, including Dallas, have also embraced pop-ups as a way to attract customers.
This isn’t the first time an unauthorized pop-up has faced the ire of a show’s creative team. In 2017, Netflix attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to Emporium Arcade Bar after it staged a Stranger Things pop-up. The streaming company’s letter was full of fan references and refrained from using strong language. Emporium’s owners said they didn’t even consider it a cease and desist, but instead saw it as a clever request to end the pop-up’s run. Levy’s tweet also used diplomacy. Still, the response was unusual as the stars, writers, and production companies behind the movies, video games, and TV shows used for pop-up inspiration rarely make public comments on unauthorized pop-up events.