The ownership of The Press Room have transformed the basement of a 109-year-old building at 1134 W. Washington Blvd. into a 70-seat European-style wine bar. The new bar isn’t the only wine bar in the West Loop, as the neighborhood already is home to The Lunatic, The Lover, & The Poet, City Winery, and Bin 36. However, owners hope a laid-back vibe, 80 wines, and dishes like a savory pie stuffed with short rib can set them apart.
The building was known as The Free Methodist Publishing House when workers erected it in 1909. The bar, which opened two weeks ago, sits in the basement of The Publishing House, an 11-room bed and breakfast that opened in June. Owner George Saldez modeled his bar after cafes he visited while in Italy and Spain. Saldez worked at River Roast, the waterside River North restaurant. He’s brought on Jeff Williams as executive chef. Williams is a former sous chef at Sable, the innovative River North cocktail lounge and restaurant.
Saldez is a native Australian, and his wine list leans toward his homeland with selections like a Jansz Brut Rose from Tasmania. Customers can buy bottles to take home, and there’s also a private room for parties.
Siren Betty Design planned the space. The firm used several news stories from 1909, when the building opened. The firm also found old photos of workers inside the publishing house, said Siren Betty’s Nicole Wlodarczyk, and they framed and hung those images. They also used them in custom wallpaper for the private booth at the entrance. They also used wood from the building’s old walls in the paneling for the bar and banquette.
Check out the photos below. The Press Room is now open, and reservations are available here.
The Press Room, 1134 W. Washington Blvd., (331) 240-1914, open 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Monday to Saturday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.