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Inside Longman & Eagle: Chicago's Hipster Hotel and Rahm-Favorite Restaurant

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  Site Where: 2657 N. Kedzie Ave [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60647
May 24, 2011 at 1:23 PM | by | ()

You won't find it on Hotels.com. It's not bookable on Expedia or even Priceline. Chicago's Longman & Eagle is an exclusive little property tucked into the Windy City's Logan Square neighborhood, and those in the know about it go straight to a restaurant's website to book a room. That restaurant is the hotel. Longman & Eagle is essentially a "restaurant and rooms," and there's only six of those to be had and trust us—they go quickly.

We're almost scared to tell you everything about this place, for fear that we'll never again be able to crash in one of their affordable, hipster flea market-chic rooms across the street from the Blue Line El (conveniently, the line to O'Hare Airport). The rates don't waver much—$75 for the cheapest two rooms, $125 for one size up from that, $150 for the next two up from that, and $200 for the largest which comes with a stand-alone bathtub and "vintage" Sony analog cassette tape player and library. We'd say it's also special for its unique furnishings, original artwork, Apple TV, free WiFi and rustic appeal, but all that comes standard with the other rooms as well.

On a recent visit to Chicago, we scored Room #43 for $75, and settled in for an evening of drinking, dining and sleeping it off upstairs...

It's impossible to make a grand entrance to Longman & Eagle for the pure fact that guests walk in two steps and stop at reception, which doubles as the hostess stand for the whole hopping restaurant. We handed over our credit card, get a receipt and room key, and were directed to walk back out and around the corner to the side entrance.

It was cocktail hour and we were getting crazy hungry, with two equally crazy hungry friends in tow. Could they get a table and start ordering while we dropped off our luggage in our room? Nope. The hostess refused to seat them until our party was complete. Umm—shouldn't there be a preference at the restaurant for people staying there, or at least a little rule-bending, especially as the restaurant often gets so busy that there's a long wait? Guess not!

Room Reaction:
After that weird reception left a bad taste in our mouths, we really hopes the room would make up for it. Good news: it did. For $75, we got more stuff and a better location for getting to our early morning flight than most far more expensive hotels downtown. The funky decor—a "Help Wanted: No Hippies" sign greeted us—plus the more casual atmosphere was reminiscent of Ace Hotels. We liked!

The $75 bought us a comfortable double bed, long desk, Apple TV, free WiFi, a unique toilet/shower combo stall, a small closet nook, two free pours of whiskey, bottled tap water, and a window with absolutely no view. For one night and a welcome departure from standard hotels, it was totally perfect.

Amenity Madness:
Longman & Eagle gets brownie points for so many extras, it's crazy. We've already told you about the complimentary whiskey, but don't forget the WiFi, Apple TV, occasional cassette tape player, and original artwork and finishes. On top of this, the bathroom has dispensers of Essentiel Elements and Kevin Murphy hair products. Walk right downstairs for one of the most buzzed-about (for good reason) restaurants and bars in Chicago, too.

Internet Connect:
Free, fast and easy. Just like it should be.

What We Liked:
If there's something we really appreciate, it's a truly unique place to stay that fills a need in a city. Chicago was craving a place like this, and if an Ace Hotel isn't going to show up anytime soon, then Longman & Eagle it is. The cherry on top of the place's good vibes were the cheap prices, neighborhood location away from downtown, and those awesome amenities. It also probably helped that once we did get seated for dinner, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel was right next to us (he's a regular).

What We Didn't Like;
It's getting harder and harder to get a room here, and this review will probably only make it worse. That said, it's totally worth trying. We also weren't enthralled with the view of the ventilation system directly out our window, and also the rooms are not soundproofed, so those staying here usually burn the midnight oil or stay downstairs drinking until last call. Preferred seating for guests should be a given, but unfortunately it is not.

Bottom Line:
Longman & Eagle is definitely for the Ace crowd; a cooler, younger set that doesn't mind restaurant noise, free whiskey and a social media-savvy property. If you've been to Chicago, love Chicago and are looking for a breath of fresh air, try here (and tell us what you think after, of course). Many of the guests are locals themselves, so that tells you something very positive about the success of this place. Book early and don't be afraid to order the bone marrow or pork soda.

[Photos and video: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]

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