Bismarck Hotel

171 E Randolph St

The Bismarck was opened by the Eitel Brothers in 1894 as one of Chicago’s premier venues for entertainment and lodging. In 1926 the owners demolished the hotel and rebuilt it as The New Bismarck Hotel, part of the Eitel Block, which included the Metropolitan Building and the 2,500-seat Palace Theater. Although the Bismarck’s heyday was in the 1920s through the 1950s, it had a renaissance as a house music hot spot in the 1980s. Lil Louis held many of his famous parties in the Ballroom. Chicago teenagers came dressed up for Louis in freshest gear after having planned to go to the parties weeks in advance. Events were non-alcoholic and held from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM with as many as 5,000 attendees, if not more. Important promoters and crews included Diamond Corps Productions, Inman and Mitchello, Ambassadors, Exstasy, Acid Heads. According to then-manager E. Baker Jenner, who presided over a 1984 renovation, the 1980s musical revival was short lived, and marked by an event tragically called “the sinking of the Bismarck” when the front portion of the Palace Theater dance floor gave way as fans surged toward the band, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The hotel was purchased in 1996 by the Kimpton Hotel group and re-opened as Hotel Allegro in 1998.

No connections found!

Do you have anything you'd like to submit? A story? Photos? Or maybe even an audio recording?

Help us out!