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Pump Room | Cocktail bar report card

Ian Schrager revamped the iconic room of our toddlin' town. But does it still swing?
Photograph: Nick Murway Aviation at the Pump Room
By Frank Sennett |

History The venerable Pump Room was reimagined in 2011 by Ian Schrager, who turned the bar and restaurant into the showpiece of his PUBLIC Chicago hotel. Patrons can still see some black-and-white photos of the bar’s celebrity Booth One guests (hey, isn’t that Fred Astaire?), but now they have to visit the host stand or the hallway leading to the bathrooms to do so. Everything else, from the ethereal globe lighting fixtures to the position of the bar, has changed, but the place hasn’t abandoned its swank heritage: PUBLIC will host festivities celebrating the Pump Room’s 75th birthday this year.

Crowd One of the most diverse crowds in the Gold Coast, from small packs of late-twenties/thirties party people to more mature cocktailians, many of whom are looking to pair off for the evening.

Minutes to get a seat on a weekend night 5

Minutes to order/receive first drink 5/5

Creativity Cocktails are competently executed versions of the classics, such as the Aviation.

Quality Good. The ginger margarita uses Olmeca Altos tequila, one of my new favorite brands.

Value $12 is standard for the ’hood.

Final evaluation This is how you revive a classic nightspot.

Still iconic? YES

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