The eagle is landing, Chicago. SafeHouse, Milwaukee’s iconic spy-themed speakeasy bar and restaurant, is planning a location in the Windy City. Heading to the AC Hotel Chicago Downtown at Rush and Ontario streets off the Mag Mile, SafeHouse Chicago will be just the second location of the 50-year-old beloved concept.
After months of intelligence from the north, the company has applied for a liquor license at 60 E. Ontario St., which is where the north entrance of the hotel sits. Milwaukee Business Journal has been reporting on the possible expansion since April when they uncovered that Safehouse’s parent company filed for "International Exports LLC," apparently a nod to the original location’s only exterior signage that reads "International Exports Ltd" at its alley entrance. The publication then reported earlier this month that Safehouse would make an announcement soon about future plans, including expansion, and that any new locations would be unique yet "retain key features and props."
Lodging and entertainment company Marcus Corporation, which owns the AC Hotel Chicago Downtown amongst other brands, purchased SafeHouse in summer 2015 from founder Dave Baldwin, who passed away in December 2015. A SafeHouse representative told Eater Chicago last week before the liquor license application that "officially, I can neither confirm nor deny rumors about a potential SafeHouse location in Chicago." The rep hasn’t commented yet on today’s news.
Opened in 1966, SafeHouse is celebrating its 50th year of providing Milwaukee-area locals and travelers iconic covert fun, food and drink downtown. The hidden concept, accessible via a door through a neighboring pub or the alley entrance by uttering a daily codeword, is home to cold war artifacts, spy-themed food, cocktails and decor, and is a must-visit spot for families, adults, locals, tourists, and seemingly everybody else in the Milwaukee area.
Now, 50 years after opening, SafeHouse has chosen Chicago for its second location. Stay tuned for more intelligence.