It's no secret that in the quest to collect new experiences, people crave documentation of their adventures captured on cameras and shared on social media. This desire creates pressure for novel backdrops in photos and videos to inspire likes and comments. So where's that place that's so unique, you might just put your phone down to absorb it all—and maybe even meet people IRL? Enter Fieldhouse Jones.
Like all things trying to be trendy, it defies easy categorization. It sits somewhere between Chicago's premier Gold Coast, Near North / Cabrini Green, and Old Town neighborhoods. Part Airbnb, part hotel, part hostel, part local hangout, it lives within the old 11-story Borden Dairy Depot warehouse at 312 W. Chestnut Street and overlooks a private park.
The park is particularly relevant to the story behind Fieldhouse Jones. Harkening back to the 1850s when the city's park and boulevard system emerged, the first Park District Fieldhouses appeared for residents to socialize despite the harsh weather. As Chicago made good on its ‘Urbs in horto’ (City in a Garden) motto where people can escape the city to enjoy the fruits of leisure year-round, President Theodore Roosevelt described the feat as "the most notable civic achievement in any American city."
The fieldhouses, designed to be a physical and social home away from home, held assembly halls, club rooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias, libraries, locker rooms, and swimming pools, in which a continuous flow of activity occurred. Fieldhouse Jones echoes all of this history as a new social club that's open to everyone with themed communal spaces and events, vacation apartments, and local food.
Embracing the changing landscape of urban hospitality, there are flexible room types that range from single beds in shared rooms to studio, one and two bedroom apartments. The concept shifts away from solely self-centric travel to a social experience where locals and guests can cross paths.
Take your pick of where to spend time: there's a lobby level gymnasium lounge and Top Spin coffee bar, a basement game room with faux-swimming lanes, the Janitor's Closet Speakeasy, and the public/private event area featuring custom slot car racing, and a gourmet demo kitchen.
Every space has art that echoes a vintage vibe, from painted-over graffiti scoreboards, to a 400-count wood tennis racket installation made to remind you of gymnasium climbing nets. And that vibe is working well with reasonable prices. A single bed has been quoted as low as $23 a night, while apartment style rooms with four bunk beds came in at about $111 at the time of this writing.
So, give it a shot. Take a photo. Talk to people. Try something new. It builds upon a recipe of behavior that city planners have been perfecting for over 100 years—so it might just have staying power.
- Previous Chicago Hotel coverage [Curbed Chicago]