See the new boutique hotel before it opens and transforms an iconic Lakeview neighborhood.
Published March 23, 2018, at 1:48 p.m.
Text by Nina Kokotas Hahn
On March 30, the Ricketts family adds another feather to their cap with the opening of their first hotel. Located on Clark Street just across from the front entrance of Wrigley Field, where a parking lot and lone McDonald’s previously stood for decades, the new 173-room Hotel Zachary is the first full-scale hotel to open within a half mile of the ballpark. It’s also a striking addition to an iconic corner of the city.
We took a first look at Hotel Zachary ahead of Monday’s opening with Eric Nordness, senior vice president of Hickory Street Capital—the Ricketts’ real estate development company—and found the highlights start before you even enter the hotel.
The hotel, rising seven stories and spanning a full block from Addison to West Patterson, commands a view. And it begins at street level with a row of new dining concepts, arranged back-to-back on Clark Street. There’s West Town Bakery & Tap, opening April 4, and Mordecai, a cozy, woodsy bar and restaurant opening April 2 and named for famed Cub’s pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown.
Adjacent to the hotel, find second locations for One Off Hospitality’s Big Star Wrigleyville and Four Star Restaurant Group’s Smoke Daddy, both slated to open by April 9 to coincide with the Cubs’ home opener. Boka Restaurant Group recently announced it will also open the American brasserie Dutch & Doc’s by early summer. That old McDonald’s from the parking lot? It’s been resurrected alongside these big players.
The exterior also riffs off the red-brick style of Wrigley Field, incorporating it into a contemporary design defined by modern angles, exposed metal lines, and a sweeping, round corner of floor-to-ceiling windows. That recognizable brick is also the first nod to Zachary Taylor Davis, the Chicago architect who designed Wrigley Field in 1914, and serves as inspiration for the hotel’s design.
“From inception, we set out to honor the hotel’s namesake, Zachary Taylor Davis, who defined this neighborhood more than a century ago,” said Nordness. “We worked closely with Davis’ family throughout the entire development process to ensure his legacy was celebrated.”
To do this, the hotel’s design teams—Stantec Architecture, who handled the guestrooms and suites, and Studio K Creative, who created Zachary’s public spaces—aimed to create a modern version of Davis’ early 20th century residence and private studio. You get a sense of this as soon as you step inside the first floor entrance, a small, unassuming reception space with dark steel stairs, grey-hued brick walls with mixed veneers, and a view up to giant portraits of Zachary Taylor Davis and his wife, Alma.
It’s a teaser for what awaits on the second floor, arguably the best floor of the hotel for its sprawling, beautifully designed social spaces. A long white table—the size of which you’d find in a library—sits before a white-tiled wall painted with Davis’s original sketch of Wrigley Field. The high, exposed ceilings express a certain grandeur. If you look up while sitting at the bar with its Art Deco style and white orb lighting, you’ll see metal shelves holding rolls of Davis’ architectural plans.
Burnt sienna-colored leather banquets and wood tables surround the bar, and there are other similarly cozy spaces, like the private Alma Room (an homage to Davis’ wife, where breakfast is served), and the library, which has a fireplace and walls depicting newly commissioned art alongside photos, newspaper clippings, and other Davis-family memorabilia. Outside, a long covered patio equipped with another fireplace and TVs offers killer views to Wrigley Field and its famous marquee.
That same view can be had from the hotel’s guestrooms and suites on floors three to six (just be sure to request a ballpark view). Every room comes with floor-to-ceiling windows, while the hotel’s 20 suites feature balconies—something worth the splurge for both games and that Pearl Jam concert in August.
Take the view and the location out of the equation and you’ve still got comfortable, well-designed rooms that nail a modern-meets-historic residential style. Matte-finish wood floors with smatterings of throw rugs and mosaic-tile insets contrast textured wallpapers, dressers disguised as flat-file cabinets, and wingback chairs under black-and-white photos of Davis. Suites offer library nooks, plush sitting areas that feel like a design-savvy friend’s living room, and architectural elements that evoke the Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright, a contemporary of Davis.
Hotel Zachary opens on March 30. Rates at the hotel start at $209, though expect it to be higher on game days.