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Longman & Eagle Readies Inn

By Kim Bellware in Miscellaneous on Dec 2, 2010 5:00PM

Ever since Longman & Eagle's owners announced plans late last year for a boutique neighborhood inn as part of the restaurant, we've been anticipating its opening, having already been won over by the establishment's menu. Though the restaurant, bar and inn are considered one entity, the "eat and drink" recently earned a Michelin star while the "sleep" portion remained under construction. With the final touches in place, Manager/Innkeeper Elana Green said the inn will be accepting guests "hopefully mid-December" pending city licenses and paperwork (though she says they've done a successful test run with a wedding party a week earlier).

Before the first patrons snuggle into the all-soy mattresses, Green gave Chicagoist a full tour of the six-room European style inn that combines the expertise and personality of its four partners, Empty Bottle co-owners Bruce Finkleman and Peter Toalson, artist and designer Cody Hudson and Mode carpentry firm founder Robert McAdams. The combined result of custom woodwork, handmade art, musical flourishes and smart design has made for a cozy atmosphere that's as intimate as it is interesting.

Varying in size and price (rooms range from 138 to 351 square feet) the inn's six rooms are efficient and intimate. Green stressed that the accommodations are not like those in a hotel and spare many of the features to which most travels have become accustomed, like walled-off bathrooms, phones, alarm clocks or coffee makers. Though amenities are kept to the minimum, each room has a modestly-sized flat screen television, an Apple TV box for music and video streaming and bottled tap water printed with logos special to the inn. A few of the larger rooms house small mini bar refrigerators, and for a $5 fee, guests can order from the restaurant menu for room service. Green said guests receive a pair of drink tokens redeemable at the bar downstairs, where patrons can chat with the staff and fellow diners for tips on what to see and do around town, in lieu of a dedicated concierge.

Despite keeping certain amenities lean, Longman & Eagle's distinctive design still feels luxurious, with enough subtlety to be tasteful but still special enough to make a stay worth the price. Even if a few add-ons had been spared, the rooms are put together thoughtfully enough to where the effect would have been maintained. The original art pieces vary in each room (a mix of installations, table top sculptures, prints and photographs), creating specific feels that range from rustic to urban and design-wise, from vintage to mid-century modern. McAdams' woodwork (he also designed the wood work for The Publican and Beauty Bar) is another standout feature, with original designs for several of the beds, desks and chairs. Keeping in step with the various re-used or up-cycled accessories, a few rooms use reclaimed wood--most notably in one of the budget-sized rooms, with a bed and wall made from the original floor planks of the building, pre-renovation. In addition to the Apple TV boxes for streaming music, a few rooms come ready with vintage cassette decks, and house-curated mix tapes to play in them, or turntables. The rooms also have a tiny collection of books for bedtime reading.

Green shared with us all of the ways Longman & Eagle is aiming to make the inn inviting, cozy and fun, but hinted that one of its biggest advantages was also the simplest: proximity to regular Chicagoans.

Longman & Eagle is located at 2657 N Kedzie Ave, room prices start at $75 (weekday), $100 (weekend)