• 1. Ernie Byfield opened The Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel on October 1, 1938.

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  • 2. Ernie Byfield was inspired by another venue called the Pump Room in 18th century Bath, England, where Queen Anne and other London socialites gathered. The Pump Room was named after the hot water drinks pumped into its patrons’ cocktails.

  • 3. It was was one of the first quality restaurants to open in Chicago after the end of Prohibition.

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  • 4. Booth One was the most coveted seats in the house. Celebrities could call their friends overseas on the tables designated phone line.

  • 5. Famed actress Gertrude Lawrence, who was starring in a play in Chicago at the same time as The Pump Rooms debut, established its reputation as the booth to be seen in.

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  • 6. Liza Minnelli may have been the youngest Booth 1 regular, taken there many times during her childhood by her mother Judy Garland.

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  • 7. The booth was also where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall celebrated their wedding, as did Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.

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  • 8. Frank Sinatra always called ahead to ask how many guests were in the restaurant. He’d offer to pick up their tabs as long as they agreed to leave. He and the Rat Pack, liked to have the place to themselves.

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  • 9. The restaurant used to feature a Great Signature Book, which includes the names Marlene Dietrich and Cole Porter. John Barrymore is reputed to have urinated on the book after drinking too much champagne.

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  • 10. Phil Collins was once denied entry for not wearing a jacket. He was so annoyed he named his next solo album, “No Jacket Required.”

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