Week #33 – Pump Room

The Pump Room at Public Chicago, has been on my to do list since the beginning of the year, and I was so glad to check it  off my list with Nate and our college friends Brian and Kelly.

Brian and Kelly recently moved to the burbs, and asked us if we wanted to get together for dinner in the city. The pressure was on, as I wanted to make a good decision since they were making the effort to come see us. After a delicious—and filling—dinner at Chicago Q (one of my favorites for barbecue), the night was still young, so we figured we’d grab a drink before heading home. I believe Kelly suggested the Pump Room, and it was like she read my mind. It was a nice cool Chicago evening (we’ve been having a lot of them lately—I love it), so we walked over to the historic Pump Room.

Now, I should mention, the Pump Room first opened in 1938, and used to be a see-and-be-seen-place by celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Better Davis, Judy Garland, Paul Newman, Clark Gable, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn—should I keep going? The restaurant and bar reopened in Fall 2011, and has been getting great reviews ever since.

When we walked in, we were on a mission to find some seating. As we looked for chairs, it was hard not to get distracted by the beautiful interior design of the restaurant and hotel. We walked through the bar, the library, the coffee bar, and into the screening room, where Breakfast at Tiffany’s was playing. After cozying into the big, comfy sofas, we decided we needed to relocate or else we’d fall asleep (because it was so relaxing—not boring!). We were lucky to get a table after a short wait in the bar. We had a view of the restaurant, and I have to geek out and tell you the modern circular lighting in there is gorgeous. The gold curved wall behind the bar was also a glamorous touch.

Although I didn’t eat (and I didn’t get a good look at the plates either…darn), I did have room for a cocktail, which was a grown-up version of a summertime: Vodka Thyme Lemonade with Belvedere Citron vodka, fresh lemon, thyme, and soda. It was refreshing with a bite, which I enjoyed. The sprig of thyme in the glass gave it a little sophistication too.

Our table was perfect, and the noise level around 8 or 9 pm was lively, yet easy to carry on a conversation (much appreciated!). The tables of customers were very eclectic—from an out-of-town couple on their cell phones to an anxious younger guy waiting for his date.

I really enjoyed this spot, and would like to return for another round at the bar and dinner (small plates featuring a farm-to-table concept). Maybe you’ll join me?

Pump Room
1301 North State Parkway
Gold Coast

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Week #32 – Untitled

Two of my good friends—Bridget and Liz (who happen to be cousins!)—both have birthdays in the summer, so we usually celebrate them both together! The girls picked Untitled in River North, and it was an awesome choice.

I was running late so I didn’t get to take a photo outside, but as you can imagine, the storefront is discrete (hence, Untitled). As I ran downstairs, I was transported from downtown Chicago to a speakeasy from the past.

The restaurant/lounge is huge, and there are many different rooms to explore. The hostess guided me to my friends’ table—I think there were nine of us—in a private booth with a drape to block out the other guests. We had such a great time catching up and laughing until we cried, all while the Prosecco flowed and courses and courses of food were eaten.

Of all the small plates we ordered, I think the fried pickles and bacon cornbread were delicious, but the seafood tower  (full order) was by far the most decadent. I was lucky enough to get some lobster (with the butter it’s out of this world) and shrimp, and I think I’d come back for the tower alone.

During the evening, I got up and wandered around the restaurant, into the library-themed lounge area and the huge room with live music. Later that night, there was a little person playing the drum in the lobby area of the restaurant. That was definitely a first!

After a stressful day of apartment hunting, Untitled helped me forget about my worries and unwind with my gals. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a unique dinner/lounge experience with friends. Enjoy!

Untitled
111 West Kinzie
River North

Sorry the pictures aren’t the best. It’s really dark in there to set the mood.

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