There Is No Tip Top Tap

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, August 15, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 7 comments

photo of Allerton Hotel Tip Top Tap signHigh atop the Allerton Hotel on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue, is the sign shown in the accompanying picture. It features the name of the hotel, as well as the name, “Tip Top Tap.” Where one would think there is actually a bar or lounge called Tip Top Tap inside the hotel, there is not. There once was, and for historical reasons the sign cannot change on the building. This article in the Chicago Tribune on the recent renovation of the hotel tells more of its story.

Granted, the name Tip Top Tap does not sound contemporary by any modern standard. However, when there is a sign on both sides of your building, visible to millions each year, would you want to leverage this or simply ignore it? When the hotel was renovated, the space where the bar used to be was made into meeting space, and now there is a contemporary lounge on the second floor which, according to the hotel’s Web site, does not have a formal name.

This is not the only example of old names on buildings in Chicago. The former Marshall Field’s State Street store still carries its large name plaques even though it has been Macy’s for the past few years. Many banks dot the streets of the city with the names of their predecessor banks etched in stone and a plastic illuminated sign shows the current name. Though in today’s business mergerpalooza environment, there is probably little confusion as to what bank is what, and Macy’s still receives so much negative press in the Windy City that people know what really is on State Street.

I wonder how many people go into the Allerton Hotel looking for the Tip Top Tap? Count me as one, as my wife and I went in as she recalled her uncle’s stories of having cocktails at the bar many years back. Maybe if enough people go there asking for it management may consider returning the name? There is no shortage of brand and advertising people within a few blocks of the hotel to make it happen either.

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