The Pump Room, Chicago
The restaurant served a number of celebrities who were regular customers and has been written about in books and articles. Lucius Beebe, gourmand, author and journalist, included references to The Pump Room in some of his books and articles. Arturo Petterino (1920–2010) was its maitre d' for many years, steering celebrity patrons to the coveted Booth One. Famous guests included Frank Sinatra, John Barrymore, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Beverly Sills, David Bowie, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, John Steinbeck, Ronald Reagan, Paul Harvey, Helen Hayes, Clark Gable, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, Lena Horne, Joan Crawford, Tallulah Bankhead, Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minnelli, Robert Redford, Bill Murray, Josephine Baker, Phil Collins, Gertrude Lawrence, Eddie Fisher, Michael J. Fox, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner, Mel Brooks, Olivia Newton-John, Peggy Lee, Mick Jagger, Sid Yiddish and many others.
In April 2010, the Ambassador East Hotel was sold to Ian Schrager Co. It closed in 2011 and was completely remodeled as the Public Chicago Hotel. The Pump Room reopened in fall 2011, with food concepts by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The hotel as well as The Pump Room is located on the northeast corner of State Parkway and Goethe St in Chicago's Gold Coast.
In popular culture
The Pump Room is referenced in the Fred Fisher song Chicago (That Toddlin' Town): "We'll meet at the Pump Room-Ambassador East/To say the least, on shish kebab and breast of squab we will feast/And get fleeced." These lyrics also appeared in the film which introduced it, the 1939 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. The song My Kind of Town (Chicago is), popularized by Frank Sinatra, has the line "Chicago is the jumpin' Pump Room".
In the spoken word introduction to the Monkees song "Don't Call on Me" (from their album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.), Micky Dolenz makes reference to "the elegant Pump Room...high over Chicago" against a background of drunken patter, clinking glasses and lounge piano. Dolenz, however, mistakenly places it in the Palmer House.
Jazz singer Erin McDougald was the youngest headliner in the history of The Pump Room; she was introduced on live radio, to new General Manager, Bill Borden in 2002, by WGN talk Show host Rick Kogan. Borden offered McDougald a contract on the spot and her 2-year residency as the weekend headline entertainment garnered national press; the young McDougald was cited in USA Today (December 2003), The Sun Times (April 2004) and various food publication as part of the renewed success and elevated Zagat rating, moving the restaurant from 3 stars to 4. The Chicago Sun Times music and culture section also reported on the success (January 2004). While McDougald was in residency, her performances attracted famous guests in the audience, including poet Maya Angelou, Dennis Farina, Bob Dylan and John Malkovich.
- Zeldes, Leah A. (2010-04-29). "The last Chicago maitre d'". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Baeb, Eddie (April 2, 2010). "Ian Schrager to prime the Pump Room". chicagorealestatedaily.com.
- "The Fabulous Pump Room: I, II, III, IV," Lucius Beebe, Gourmet, October, 1963.
- Kogan, Rick (1983). Sabers & Suites: The Story of Chicago's Ambassador East. Chicago: R. R. Donnelley & Sons.
- "10 Great Places to Drink in a Historic Bar's Ambiance," Tim Dillon, USA Today, December 26, 2003.
- "Pump Room Wins Back Coveted Fourth Diamond," Chicago Sun Times, April 27, 2004.
- The Friendly Indians have dedicated a song to The Pump Room called "Pump Room" on their second album "Greetings...From Lake Dolores"