CHICAGO’S nightspot in Stourbridge is to re-open today (Friday, September 8) - despite pleas to remain closed for longer from the devastated family of Ryan Passey who died after being stabbed at the club.

Bosses at the Ryemarket boozer say they have not taken the decision to re-open lightly and they have stressed they will not be trading on the day of Ryan’s funeral which it has been confirmed will now take place on Friday, September 22 at 11am at St James’s Church in Wollaston.

Family members, however, had hoped the town bar would remain closed until at least after the funeral out of respect for 24-year-old Ryan, a window cleaner and popular borough footballer, who was stabbed in the chest at the venue in the early hours of August 6.

But at a meeting of Dudley Council’s licensing committee on August 24, councillors gave the go-ahead for the venue to re-open, after a two-week suspension, providing police were satisfied stringent conditions aimed at keeping revellers safe would be adhered to.

On confirming the pub was set to re-open this week, a spokesman for Chicago’s told the News: “This has been a distressing time for all concerned and, of course, none more so than the family and friends of Mr Passey.

“There is a lot of misinformation about the events of that night circulating on social media and we feel that our response has been misrepresented, but we can’t say anything that may prejudice the outcome of the case and, of course, we totally respect that.

“What we would stress is that we acted within the terms of our licence, as defined by the police and local authorities, including conducting random searches on entry.

“Stourbridge has always been a relatively safe night out and we had no specific intelligence or advice that these measures should be increased.

“We genuinely care about our customers and employees’ welfare and will be increasing security and safety checks when we reopen on Friday night.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and will not be trading on the day of Mr Passey's funeral.”

Family representative Sue Passey told the licensing committee she did not believe searches of one in six were carried out on the night Ryan was stabbed.

Club bosses maintained they were, although police could not confirm this, and licensing chiefs stipulated that on re-opening every other customer entering Chicago’s must be searched.

A host of other conditions have also been imposed on the bar – including increasing its CCTV coverage, having a formal search area within the premises, employing extra door staff when the club is at capacity, no longer serving alcohol in glass bottles and ensuring staff have completed basic first aid training and that first aid kits are held on the premises.

An inquest into Ryan’s death was opened on September 1 at the Black Country Coroner’s Court, Oldbury, where it was confirmed he died of a stab wound to the chest.

The hearing was told he was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after the incident but was pronounced dead at 2.07am on August 6.

Kobe Murray, of The Broadway, Dudley, has been charged with murdering Ryan.

The 19-year-old entered a not guilty plea when he appeared at Birmingham Crown Court via video link on Tuesday - and is now awaiting a trial which has been scheduled for January 24, 2018.

The inquest, meanwhile, has been suspended – pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Floral tributes and a petition, calling for the venue's closure, placed outside Chicago's in the aftermath of Ryan's death have now been removed.