Pump Room

Due Diligence

Checking the Hype at the New Pump Room

None 7 Photos Pump 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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