The greatest part of living in Wrigleyville as a Cubs fan is being walking distance from the greatest ballpark in America. Most of the time the reason that is awesome is the ability to walk up to the ticket office and see what a single seat will cost on a lazy summer afternoon. With the development of the Park at Wrigley that’s expanded a bit, though. Last year I randomly discovered concerts in the Park, a Farmer’s Market, and Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies covering an ice skating rink.
You know, just fun neighborhood stuff.
Today was one of those days. I decided to walk by the Hotel Zachary to see how they were progressing with the opening and I must have timed it perfectly. The doorman at the Hotel asked if I had a minute, told me they had just opened the second floor bar, and invited me in to see the space and take “some pictures.” I had about an hour before the Cubs game started and decided to take a peek so I could share it with all of you.
I later learned from a bartender that they had been open for “almost four hours.” I’m not going to lie, it was pretty fun to be one of the first customers at the Hotel Zachary bar and it was also pretty impressive that the place was reasonably full. When I entered there wasn’t an open seat at the bar (although a single did open up as you’ll see later). Check out the first few hours of a pretty cool spot below:
When you enter off of Clark Street the first thing you see is a grand staircase and two large portraits, including one of Zachary Taylor Davis, the hotel’s namesake and the architect behind the design of Wrigley Field. (Not to be confused with Taylor Davis, the Cubs minor league catcher and internet sensation).
At the top of the stairs there is a chic open bar area with gems that should absolutely delight every Cubs fan. An observation here: this isn’t a sports bar. If you want that, The Brickhouse Tavern is excellent and right across the street. Brickhouse is a classic sports bar where you can see golden glove and silver slugger awards, dozens of TVs and listen to a live DJ (if that’s your thing). The Hotel Zachary experience is subtler, classier, and still just as devoted to Cubs’ fandom as you can see from the pictures below:
I had a bit of time to kill before Kyle Hendricks threw his first pitch and there was now exactly one seat available, so I decided to check out the menu and view from the bar. Before I post those shots, I just have to say, the little details are nice. There is a cocktail called “The Lake Effect” and the coasters are different varieties of Wrigley Field blueprints over the years. There are a lot of outlets at the bar, so it’s a great place to charge your cellphone while you have a bite to eat. There are hooks for your bags or coats. There are two decent sized screens on either side of the 360 degrees bar, so you won’t miss any sports action while you sit there, but it doesn’t feel like a sports bar, either.
You can see what I saw in the pictures below:
Prices were on the reasonable to high side. I certainly didn’t enter this space thinking I was going to get a deal, and I didn’t. The prices are higher than the Brickhouse Tavern across the street, but I sort of expected that when I walked in. It’s worth noting that the qualiy is also higher than you’ll find across the street. While nothing felt outrageously overpriced, relative to the neighborhood this is pricey. This is the place to go if you want a high end cocktail and options like lobster corndogs or burratta salads. It certainly isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for a bargain.
In addition to the lobster corndogs (which were delicious) the menu includes more traditional baseball fare like brats and fries ($14) or the Zachary burger ($16). I’ll just be really transparent for those of you who don’t live in the area — those prices are quite high for that food in this neighborhood. You are getting an upcharge for ambiance. I don’t think it’s necessarily an unreasonable one, but this isn’t the place to grab a cheap bite before the game.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at the Hotel Zachary. The space is bright, welcoming and filled with thoughtful artistic touches for fans who love the Cubs. The food and drink are high quality. The views of Wrigley and the Park at Wrigley are as beautiful as you would imagine. This is a great addition to a neighborhood that doesn’t have a lot of upscale options, it’s not an everyday spot, but it’s nice to know I won’t have to leave Wrigleyville for a high end cocktail experience in the future.