Fieldhouse Jones draws inspiration from Chicago's history as an innovator of community gathering spaces to provide a stylish, comfortable, and unique lodging experience in a bustling corner of the city.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Christopher Blatner Contributing writer
Chicago will always be a hub of innovation; it is the birthplace of the skyscraper, electric dishwasher, 16″ softball, and too many foods to count. And Fieldhouse Jones is offering a modern take on another Chicago innovation … the park district fieldhouse.
This “budget boutique” hotel draws inspiration from the community gathering centers created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries within many of Chicago’s parks. Those fieldhouses were and still are a place for neighbors to connect, exercise, and socialize year-round indoors, no matter what the weather is doing outside. Fieldhouse Jones offers travelers a community-centered experience where guests can interact with locals, unwind, and socialize.
The experience begins with the lobby level coffee bar, Dropshot. It has a gymnasium feel with vintage sports trophies and scoreboards adorning the walls and a large installation of old wooden tennis rackets billowing across the ceiling. Two large sections of bleacher seating anchor the room and invite people to gather. Just above the bleachers is a mezzanine lounge with comfortable couches and more tables to congregate. Dropshot is where you will find locals working remotely or just stopping in for a coffee and a bite to eat. If you’re looking for a suggestion on what to do during your stay, strike up a conversation with someone from the neighborhood. We assure you they’ll be happy to offer up some tips. Chicagoans love their city and want visitors to have a great time.
From the lobby, there is a set of stairs leading down to the basement where you enter a long hallway made to look like a swimming lane in an old fieldhouse pool. Along both sides of the hall are cushy bench seats and tables offering more space to hang out. Just off the hallway is a nondescript door that looks like it leads to a closet. Well, it does. It leads to the Janitor’s Closet; a speakeasy-style bar carved out of what was once an actual janitor’s closet during the building’s former life as part of the Borden Dairy Depot. Stop in most evenings after 5 p.m. for a potent libation. Beyond the hallway is one of the more unique entertainment experiences that you’ll find at any hotel, not one but two giant, custom-built, slot car tracks. Grab some friends and race each other against the clock during free-play on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Heading back above ground, Fieldhouse Jones offers a variety of room types that will appeal to those traveling solo all the way to those traveling with a full-on squad. There are classic rooms with double, full, queen, and king beds, while others creatively use the high ceilings of the building and enable more people to stay in a room by adding a lofted bunk bed to a standard-sized room. For those with a few more people, there are 1 and 2-bedroom apartments. And for those full squads, there are luxury lofts with multiple bunks that feature full-sized beds and comfortable sitting areas. Many rooms also offer a functional kitchenette. Each space has oak flooring, a desk area, flat screen tv, and accents of vintage and original artworks. Bathrooms are stylish with modern fixtures, a spacious glass walk-in shower and an overall black-and-white color scheme. Toiletries are by Beekman 1801.
Fieldhouse Jones delivers an exceptional lodging experience and provides a space to cultivate community between its guests and locals, carrying on a tradition born in the parks of Chicago more than a century ago.
Slot car free-play in the basement on Thursdays & Fridays 5–9 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m.–1 p.m
Explore some history by walking over to the historic Chicago Water Tower, one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871
Studio rooms and apartment rooms with kitchenettes provide living areas and pull-out sofas if you have some guests crashing for the night
Rent a Divvy bike and take a leisurely ride on the lakefront path
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