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Food & Drink

This River North Speakeasy Serves Cocktails In An Old Janitor’s Closet

By Charli Renken

This River North Speakeasy Serves Cocktails In An Old Janitor’s Closet

Behind a supply closet door is possibly Chicago’s oddest cocktail bar. 

Located inside an old custodian’s closet of the Fieldhouse Jones Hotel, Janitor’s Closet is exactly how it sounds. Mops, Pine-sol, and paint cans decorate the walls in a close-quarters seating area. What is now a micro-bar, used to be the actual janitor’s closet for the hotel! Janitor’s Closet is a one-of-a-kind experience with an intimate, surprisingly cozy atmosphere.

Located in River North, the speakeasy opened in April 2019 and is known for its quirky vibe and signature craft cocktails. In true speakeasy fashion, the bar is difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s located in the basement behind a nondescript door with an “Employees Only” sign. We actually totally missed it the first time we set out to drink there!

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First time drinking in a janitor’s closet.

A post shared by Sean Ireton (@seaniemic) on

Former Moneygun bartender, Jef Tate is the mastermind behind the speakeasy concept and handcrafts each cocktail on the regularly rotating menu. Our current favorite has to be the Dear Summer, a tart cognac-based drink with apricot, lemon verbena, and grapefruit bitters. Tate is also known to create custom drinks based on patrons’ preferences and is a joy to hang around the bar with.

The menu also includes empanadas from 5411 Empanadas, beers from Hopewell, Miskatonic, and Marz, and a selection of white, red, and sparkling wine. A few favorite empanada options include Bacon, Dates & Goat Cheese, Chicken Curry, and Banana Nutella. 

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Address: 312 W. Chestnut St. Chicago, IL

Hours: Tues-Sat, 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Reservations can be made online or with the Resy app.

No cover.

More information.

Feature image: @curryfriedwaffle