Next week, a speakeasy-style bar will open inside a Near North hotel, tucked in between where Old Town and River North meet. Janitor’s Closet opens Tuesday on the lower level of the FieldHouse Jones hotel, 312 W. Chestnut Street. The space actually used to be a janitor’s closet. Before converted to a hotel, the building housed the Borden Dairy Depot.
The bar has 15 seats and a drink list that includes “Brown Line” (mezcal, tequila with pineapple, tamarind, lime), “9 Mile” (a twist on a 12 Mile Limit with Wray and Nephew Jamaican rum and grenadine), and “Lily’s Pad” (okra-infused vermouth blanc, aloe liqueur, dill aquavit, Thai basil, lemon). Another drink, “Cafe Con Leche Flip” is caffeinated (Blackstrap rum, coffee, heavy cream, simple syrup, egg yolk). Former Moneygun bartender Jef Tate is the lead bartender at Janitor’s Closet. He’s reaching into his Afro heritage for inspiration for his drink recipes.
The food will be from 5411 Empanadas which will serve its pastries at the bar. The mini-chain also has a location at Holiday Jones, Fieldhouse’s Wicker Park sibling. Beer from local breweries like Hopewell and Middle Brow will flow from the taps.
The interiors keep up the janitor’s theme with mops, Pine-Sol boxes, and T-shirt rag. These trinkets come from schools, flea markets, and thrift stores. There’s also booths inspired by school buses. There’s maintenance room shelving behind the bar.
Chicagoans love speakeasy-style bars. Janitor’s Closet opens Tuesday.