The “Godfather of Nightlife” Sets his Sights on the Windy City

Ian Schrager, founder of the Ian Schrager Company and the mastermind behind revolutionary nightlife hotspots Studio 54 and Palladium, hospitality industry savants (Morgans, Royalton, Paramount, Hudson, Mondrian, Delano, Shore Club, Clift, St. Martin’s Lane, and Sanderson) and lifestyle residences and hotels, is about to make his first foray into the Windy City in a big way.

On April 1, 2010, ISC officially acquired the historic landmark Ambassador East Hotel in the Gold Coast. Ian “Godfather of Nightlife” who has parlayed to his success to numerous grand hotels across the globe in cities such as New York, London, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco, has always wanted to own a hotel in Chicago. Our Haute Living cover subject says, “I have always considered Chicago one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant cities in America—the city that Mies van der Rohe, one of the best architects in history, called home.”

Official word in the press release indicates:

The 285-room and 189,000 square foot boutique hotel built in 1926 combines contemporary sophistication with timeless elegance, and is home to the world famous restaurant, The Pump Room. Both will undergo a renovation in the following months to restore them to their past glory.  In its hey day, the esteemed restaurant/hotel served as the wedding location of Humphrey Bogart to Lauren Bacall and played host to world renowned celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli, John F. Kennedy, Natalie Wood and Robert Redford, to name a few. Frank Sinatra was known to have booked an entire floor of rooms when in town, as well as, clear out the Pump Room for private entertaining with his famed Rat Pack buddies, but Judy Garland was the celeb to immortalize the restaurant in the lyrics to ‘Chicago’, with the words “we’ll eat at The Pump Room/Ambassador East, to say the least.

Decades later, the Pump Room maintained its allure with a new generation of stars: Michael J. Fox, Eddie Murphy, Jim Belushi, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and rock legends David Bowie, McJagger, Fleetwood Mac and Olivia Newton-John.

There is no doubt that Schrager will continue the Ambassador East’s legacy and may build up a few new legends of his own.