Janitor’s Closet opened as a speakeasy hidden on the lower level of FieldHouse Jones, a hotel located at 312 W. Chestnut St. in Chicago. Involved in the design of the speakeasy were people from the Bedderman Lodging team, including owners Debra Baum, Robby Baum and Mike Downing.
The space, with just 15 seats, carries the hotel’s field house motif. The bar pays homage to what the space used to be – a fully-functioning janitor’s closet when the building housed the old Borden Dairy Depot.
Giving new life to the space and new meaning to the term janitor’s closet, the design team wanted to fuse the rooms previous identity with a revived and renewed sense of place that hints at its past purpose. Upon entering the dimly lit subterranean speakeasy, the room has retro relics salvaged from old schools, flea markets and thrift stores, while old hardware and tools are placed throughout the exterior bar paneling. There are also school bus-inspired booths and petite round tables lining the back wall, as well as bright Pine-sol boxes and multicolored mops adorning the walls and t-shirt rags doubling as the drink menu. Vintage paint canisters, tool boxes, and time clocks line the maintenance room-like shelves with a contrasting pink tiled wall behind the bar.
Jef Tate takes the reins behind the bar.
Photo credit: Dan Kelleghan