Pump Room

Due Diligence

Checking the Hype at the New Pump Room

476527ae613933d24dab5eb663d72797756fef0f7 PhotosPump Room
Hype. You’ll humor it. Smile at it. Friend it on Facebook. You just won’t believe it. Instead, there’s this. It’s an inspection sheet of sorts. A road test. A canary in the coal mine of Chicago nightlife. We call it Due Diligence—dangerous work, but your nights are too important to leave to chance.

The Place: The Pump Room, part of Ian Schrager’s revise of the iconic, if stodgy, Ambassador East. Maybe you’ve heard. Here’s what you haven’t.

The Hype: It brings old-school Chicago back to life.
The Reality: Nah. More like modern LA—an obscene amount of champagne-bubble-esque chandeliers, a steady DJ beat that’s more Vince Chase than Vince Vaughn. If you have a new suit, wear it. But no one’s turning you away if you don’t.

The Hype: They ditched the menu and celeb photos.
The Reality: True-ish. Some classics—i.e., wiener schnitzel—remain. But you’ll also find gourmet burgers, pizzas and Thai-spiced fish. As for the famed photo collection of Shaun Cassidy, Monty Hall, Phyllis Diller, et al: it’s moved to the lower level near the restroom. Sorry, Monty.

The Hype: It’s Billy Dec’s new playground.
The Reality: Sure, Rockit Ranch is a creative consultant to the Pump Room’s bar. Whatever that means. But this isn’t the Underground. On Friday, the scene peaked at midnight, with well-dressed scenesters knocking back good scotch and cougars sipping Marilyn Monroe champagne cocktails. But by 1am, things had quieted down to a dull purr.


Pump Room
in the Public Chicago
1301 N State Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60610


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