All Events
All Events

The Backroom

February 26, 2017 5:00 pm - March 26, 2017 11:59 pm Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

A pop-up bar concept celebrating the Field Museum’s upcoming Specimens exhibition.

The Chicago Athletic Association, The Field Museum, Johalla Projects and Land and Sea Dept. are excited to announce the opening of The Backroom – a pop-up bar experience opening on Saturday, February 25, in the hotel’s ground floor Tank space (formerly the CAA’s pool). The bar will be open every Friday and Saturday night thereafter from 5pm – midnight through March 25.

Following last summer’s Cherry Circle Yacht Club pop-up bar, The Backroom will celebrate Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life, an upcoming special exhibition taking a deep dive into the into The Field Museum’s vast collections, opening March 10. The pop-up, designed by Chicago-based art gallery Johalla Projects and operated by Land and Sea Dept., will feature actual specimens from the Field’s huge collection, available to guests to explore for the first time off museum grounds.

The Backroom will feature interactive programming with Field Museum professionals in the space each night on a variety of topics, ranging from space to taxidermy and more (full schedule below). All events will be free, and will give guests the rare opportunity to chat in person with leading experts in the fields of botany, zoology, geology, history, and more, all while enjoying cocktails from LSD beverage director Paul McGee. The bar will also offer late night programming until midnight following each workshop, like DJs, trivia, karaoke, and more.

Saturday, February 25
7-10pm: Opening Party with DJ set from Elliot Bergman of Wild Belle

Friday, March 3
6pm: Dig Your Own Dinosaur with Akiko Shinya
8pm: Dino Trivia Night!

Saturday, March 4
6pm: Glowing Rocks with Jim Holstein
8pm: Glitter Guts photobooth with custom backdrop by Stephen Eichhorn

Friday, March 10
6pm: Plant Pressing with Anna Balla
8pm: Bitters making workshop with Wetherby’s Bitters

Saturday, March 11
6pm: Mushroom Show & Tell with Patrick Leacock
8pm: Psych Rock DJ set from Adam Scott

Friday, March 17
6pm: Butterfly Pinning with Crystal Maier
8pm: Gutter Butter (Logan Bay & Ben Fasman) DJ Set

Saturday, March 18
6pm: Taxidermy Night with Ben Marks and Kayleigh Kueffner

Friday, March 24
6pm: Scientists on Screen with Greg Mercer
8pm: Lumpen Radio‘s Green Screen Karaoke

Saturday, March 25 – closing party
6pm: Assembling Fish Skeletons with Caleb McMahan

Press Inquiries

Matthew Northey, The Field Museum

Carrie Sloan, Land and Sea Dept.

About Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life

Journey into The Field Museum’s vast collections with Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life. From sea snakes to corpse flower petals to meteorites, the 30 million specimens tucked away on shelves, in bins and cabinets, glass jars, and acres of wooden drawers are significant not only because of their number, but also because of the stories they tell.

Among them is a tiny minnow that resides in a glass jar. To the naked eye, it’s insignificant, a brownish-grey smudge swimming in alcohol. But we know better: this minnow is precious. It’s long extinct, and this particular fish is the last remaining scientific record of its kind ever having swam our waters.

Scientists from around the world are using our collections every day to make discoveries, solve mysteries, and explore the wonder of the natural world. Together, these specimens weave a tapestry of life in our universe: what has been, what is, and what is still unknown. Join us on a quest to uncover the secrets these objects hold and to return to moments in time otherwise lost forever.

About Chicago Athletic Association:

Located on Chicago’s fashionable Michigan Avenue across from the iconic Millennium Park in the city’s famed Loop District, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel combines its storied legacy as one of the nation’s most revered social clubs, with modern day sophistication. The historic building’s transformation into a 241-room boutique hotel is a result of a visionary partnership between international multi-brand lifestyle hotel management company, Commune Hotels & Resorts, AJ Capital, Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and the award winning

design firm, Roman and Williams Building and Interiors. The Chicago Athletic Association hotel features 17,000 square feet of stunning event space featuring sweeping views of Lake Michigan, elegantly appointed guests rooms including 23 uniquely designed suites, an interactive game room, curated retail space by Madison Hall and multiple innovative culinary experiences. The food and beverage outlets include a rooftop bar with captivating views of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, restaurant concepts by Chicago-based Land & Sea Dept. and Shake Shack by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality. These exceptional offerings for incoming visitors and locals alike make Chicago Athletic Association poised to once again become the epicenter of the city’s thriving social scene.

For reservations or more information, please visit or call 312.940.3552.

About Land and Sea Dept.

Land and Sea Dept. is a Chicago-based concept and project development studio working creatively and passionately across disciplines. Its principals – Cody Hudson, Jon Martin, Robert McAdams and Peter Toalson – have collective decades of involvement in the fields of art, construction, design, event production, identity, marketing, music, and woodworking. Their experience allows them to apply their unique creative perspectives across a variety of applications and constantly develop new concepts.

Land and Sea Dept. has completed a broad range of projects (art exhibitions, film screenings, live concerts, bars, restaurants, structural designs, and more), including some of Logan Square’s best-loved establishments: Michelin-starred Longman & Eagle, Parson’s Chicken & Fish, Lost Lake, and Thank You. Most recently, Land and Sea Dept. opened four restaurant concepts within the restored and reimagined Chicago Athletic Association: Cherry Circle Room, Game Room, Drawing Room, and Milk Room.

About Johalla Projects

Johalla Projects was established in 2009 as a venue for emerging and mid-career artists. Located in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, Johalla Projects is a collective space collaborating with artists, writers, and curators. In addition to presenting exhibitions, Johalla Projects thrives on its partnerships outside the gallery walls, staging murals, large-scale art installations, public works and guest curating for partners including the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Alderman Joe Moreno, Blue Moon Brewing Company, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival, Fountain Art Fair, The James Chicago, Soho House Chicago and the Chicago Athletic Association.

February 26, 2017 5:00 pm - March 26, 2017 11:59 pm

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Other Upcoming Events