Chicago Athletic Association Hotel Is A Dog-Friendly Foodie Haven

You had us at Shake Shack in bed and no weight restrictions

By Si Si Penaloza

Photo: Instagram / @2husketeers


Over a century ago, the Chicago Athletic Association was home to a private gentleman’s sporting club. It was a place to blow off steam in physical and social sparring matches, from fencing to poker. In a clear nod to the city’s architectural Golden Age, this historic club has been reborn as an upscale hotel with a decidedly Windy City feel. Anchored directly across from Millennium Park in The Loop, the hotel’s enviable location lies steps away from Crown Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Willis Tower.

Teach Your Dog To Shake

Photo: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Now let’s get down to the real reason we’re panting for this place. Not only does Chicago Athletic Association Hotel welcome up to two pets per room with no size restrictions or extra fees, it is the only hotel in the world that allows you to skip the perennial lines at Shake Shack with in-room dining service. Talk about a work around. Smokeshacks in bed for you and Bruiser? Yes, please! Room service from the on-site Shake Shack offers a menu for dogs with specialized burgers and baked goods.

Team Spirits

Indeed, a weekend spent wisely at Chicago Athletic checks off several buzzy spots without leaving the hotel’s social and culinary ecosystem. At sunset, head up to Cindy’s on the 13th floor. The secret’s out, this sky high Lake House-themed restaurant boasts trophy views to drink a toast to. Everything tastes better alongside the sparkling beauty of Lake Michigan. Design firm Roman and Williams Building and Interiors endowed this rooftop with serious splash. Come summer time, stake out a plum spot for illuminating views of Navy Pier’s stellar nightly firework display.



Photo: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Between the five restaurants and bars, the property teems with chatty creative types and savvy travelers. Families with young children may want to book something more kid-friendly as Chicago Athletic is more geared towards adult leisure and networking. The hotel’s heritage comes to life in the wood-paneled Game Room. With Schlitz on tap alongside a bevy of local brews, kick back over plucky foosball challenges. Outfitted with a built-in bocce bay, billiards tables, shuffleboard, chess and checker stations, this sprawling space is your second childhood waiting to happen.

Photo: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Linger in the Milk Room over customized cappuccinos until 2:30 p.m., then watch it transform into an intimate 8-seat craft cocktail bar. Formerly the club’s speakeasy during Prohibition, this wee watering hole is an ode to the old school apothecary.


Infamous Pet Guests

Photo: Instagram / @vincenzopepito

Hotel staff have welcomed celebrity huskies Nika and Kira of @2husketeers, who love to drape their lithe, long legs over the iconic grand staircase. When the pride of Palo Alto @vincenzopepito the Frenchie dropped by, he sported a rather fetching crew sweater; rather on point given the hotel’s athletic inspiration. Countless other Instagram famous pets have played out big dreams within these walls.

Chi-Town Chow Down

Photo: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

A dizzying array of dining options on your doorstep; on the ground floor, you’ll find Shake Shack. While the Game Room is all lively and frisky fun, the more hushed Cherry Circle Room is as close to a soundproofed sanctuary as you’ll find on property. A chophouse menu with a contemporary Midwestern twist, you’ll find business types mingling on heavy leather banquettes over a flute of bubbly.

Sporting Design

Photo: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Original sports themed woodwork and flooring lies intact from 1893, while art installations on loan through a partnership with the neighboring Art Institute of Chicago flushes out the campus feel. Plump leather couches attract the co-working crowd in the Drawing Room, adjacent to the lobby where hospitable hipsters cover the concierge desk. The aesthetic certainly positions the boutique property as a playful fusion of varsity panache with a fresh contemporary style.

Winning Rooms

Photo: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

A homage to the former patrician dorm rooms, staunchly masculine quarters remain the order of the day. Instagram-worthy in every respect, pommel horse benches at the foot of the bed will have you slinging on your boots with gymnastic aplomb. Bespoke iron bed frames with striped bedding scream out for bulldog photo shoots. A Scotch nightcap is another seamless fit; after all, the nightstands feature legs fashioned as tennis racket handles. Beast cave in effect should you and butterball have a late night; doze the morning away with superior black out blinds worthy of the most hungover party animal.

Photo: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Stylish bathrooms are reminiscent of 1920s locker rooms, waterfall showers outfitted in vintage set white tile and black pepper C.O. Bigelow toiletries. Jersey bathrobes lined with absorbent terry cloth make us think of boxing ring ready robes. Junior suites come with large soaking bathtubs, perfect for sudding up pooch after a day in the park. On the higher end, book one of the four Founders Suites on the third floor. Each offers Millennium Park views and features like toasty fireplaces, clawfoot tubs, and Gothic moldings.

Photo: Instagram / @vincenzopepito

Whatever your budget, whichever way your whims and fancies fall, this is one hotel that satisfies both nostalgia and trend. Book in with your dog today!

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

(312) 940-3552