SPRING 2018 – It’s hard to believe the Chicago Athletic Association is already 125 years old — crazy how time flies. Sure, it opened in 1893 to tie in with the launch of the World’s Fair that year and was originally an exclusive sport and social club for Chicago’s most elite businessmen. Notable men like Marshall Field, William Wrigley, Jr., AG Spaulding and Cyrus McCormick were founding members and all graced the hallowed halls of the stunning Venetian Gothic tower. When the original club closed in 2007, no one was sure what would become of the building, but thankfully it was saved through a partnership between Commune Hotels & Resorts, AJ Capital, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and Roman + Williams Building and Interiors. The teams refurbished many original details dating back to 1893 and the building was brought back to life four years ago as the 241-room boutique Chicago Athletic Association hotel.
Now as the property gears up to celebrate its 125th anniversary, we at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel have put together a pretty stellar roster of events and programming to help mark this momentous milestone.
The five-month celebration kicks off with a trip back to a time at our month-long popup bar Foxy Ed’s, harkening back to a time when wild saloons served as gathering places throughout Chicago with infamous barkeeps like “Bathhouse John” Coughlin, Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna, and of course, Edward F. “Foxy Ed” Cullerton. Set in the hotel’s ground-level Tank space, Foxy Ed’s debuts May 3 and will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through May 26 from 5 p.m. to midnight. Each night will feature different programming, including poker lessons, jug jams, fun history lessons and burlesque shows.
The ensuing months will showcase events including a culinary series, live discussions, various workshops and more, including:
- Lakehouse Series at Cindy’s: This special collaborative dinner series, led by Cindy’s chef de cuisine Keith Potter and executive pastry chef Jove Hubbard, will pay homage to the 1893 Columbian Exposition.
- World’s Fare Terrace Bites & Treats: Starting May 5, visit to experience a menu featuring elevated fare on Cindy’s terrace, including candied nuts, petite jamon and beurre sandwiches and new drinks like the friesling, our own frozen riesling.
- Vichcraft Calligraphy Workshop: Learn the fine art of calligraphy from artist Jenna Blazevich on July 28.
- Annual Halloween Party: This event, taking place on Oct. 27, will see one final over-the-top blowout bash to celebrate the 125th anniversary with an evening of performances, attractions and concessions inspired by exhibits from the 1893 World’s Fair.
Watch for more details on these and more events at chicagoathleticevents.com.
Want to learn more about our ties to 1893 happenings? Read more below.
- CHICAGO ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION + THE 1893 WORLD’S FAIR | Original CAA members played a big role in the 1893 World’s Fair
- BORN IN 1893 | What products debuted that year that are still around today?
- LOOK AROUND THE PRE-HOTEL CHICAGO ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION | Take a peek at Chicago Athletic Association before the hotel renovation
- DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY | One man came to prey on the weak and wreak havoc during the World’s Fair
- SCENES FROM 1893 | Think you know Chicago? Not like this!
- THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER | William “Pudge” Heffelfinger brought CAA to victory in 1893
- DRINK AROUND THE WORLD’S FAIR OF 1893 | Get inside the 1893 World’s Fair with drinks