New to the Chicago scene is the Freehand Hotel & Hostel, located in the heart of the trendy River North neighborhood. River North is always buzzing with people, both locals and tourists, so its the perfect area for the Freehand Hotel.
A collaboration with with innovative designers Roman & Williams helped transform the former Tokyo Hotel, along with an added Cafe Integral coffee bar and the Broken Shaker. The building itself dates back to 1927 and the space takes advantage of the more vintage feel. Wood furniture, big wool cushions and lots of wallpaper fills the space to create what is best described as an “Alaskan cabin with Native American decor.” On the walls you’ll find yarn wall hangings, while the side tables showcase vintage lamps and floral arrangements giving the space a cozy and warm feeling.
Walking through the rotating entrance doors, to the right is the hotel check-in desk, and to the left is Cafe Integral. This coffee bar serves up freshly ground, gourmet coffees and a small selection of pastries. For a classic Cuban-style breakfast, a la their Miami location, try the Cafe Completo that includes a cortado, buttered toast with jam and an orange juice for $10. The rest of the menu consists of “Meso-american Comfort Food” like tartines, toasts and stews.
There’s plenty of cozy seating areas where you can enjoy your coffee, work on your laptop or enjoy a cocktail from the Broken Shaker. Up a few steps through the back of the hotel is where you’ll find this awesome lounge featuring the same decor as the rest of the space, but more dimly lit. The carefully crafted cocktail menu contains sections of Chicago-inspired drinks as well as classics from the Miami menu. We tried a couple from each of these sections and quickly recognized the thought and effort that goes into each and every cocktail mixed at this bar. And don’t worry, just like its Miami outpost the drinks don’t lack on the alcohol — so you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth.
The hotel itself is an eclectic mix of room options ranging from private suites with attached bathrooms to shared spaces with bunk beds. This makes for a diverse and fun crowd of guests, all enjoying what the Freehand has to offer.
The “hipster” feel of the Freehand Hotel & Hostel is being welcomed with open arms into the otherwise trendy River North neighborhood. The hotel plans to host pop-up shops and events at the Broken Shaker so be sure to stop by (or even book a room) and have a well-executed crafted cocktail while you take in the vibe.