Plumes of smoke poured out of Howell's Bar & Grill Friday night as spectators watched along Mason Street near Michigan Avenue.
Patrons who were eating inside earlier said the smoke started coming up through the floor before engulfing the entire building.
For many in the area, it's difficult to watch a familiar place be destroyed.
"It's just very sad," said Joe Romzek. "These people are going to be losing their jobs."
At this time firefighters believe the flames originated from the basement of an adjacent business.
Everyone was able to escape without injury.