Ray’s Bucktown Bed and Breakfast

Rays-Bucktown-BnB2144 N. Leavitt St.
773-384-3245 raysbucktownbandb.com

Eight blocks north of Wicker Park, Ray’s Bucktown Bed and Breakfast quietly occupies two houses on Leavitt Street, at the T-intersection with Webster Avenue. Look for the bike rack in front, and ring the call button to be let in. As you step into the office area, you can see the kitchen where Ray’s whips up their cooked-to-order breakfasts. Your guest room is to the right, upstairs, downstairs or in the adjoining house nicknamed the “Bird Wing.”

Upstairs, Downstairs, Main Wing, “Bird Wing”

Decorated with ornithological photographs and books, the North Wing has six guest rooms, each named for a bird. The Main Wing, where you enter, has five guest rooms. At 11 rooms total, Ray’s claims to be the largest B&B in the city. Choose a room in the Main Wing if you’d like to share your bed with the B&B’s resident cat. Select the North Wing if you prefer your room cat-free.

If you’re staying on your own or with one other person, check the availability of Ray’s Woodpecker Room and Flamingo Room, which have queen beds, or the Chickadee Room, which has a king bed. The Room with a View offers a king bed that splits into two twins – as well as a view of the sunrise and a bathroom skylight.

If you need a queen bed and a twin bed, reserve the garden-level East Room, the quiet Egret Room or the cozy Cardinal Room. The second-floor Eagle’s Nest provides a king bed, a twin bed and a view down Webster Avenue.

For a room that sleeps four, consider the sunny Da Vinci Room’s queen and full beds or the Skylight Room’s queen bed and queen futon. The garden-level West Room features a queen bed and two twin sleeping compartments that may remind you of the railcar bunks in classic movies.

In your room, you’ll have a high-definition TV and DVR with cable or satellite service. You can request a DVD player if you like, and you can connect to Ray’s free Wi-Fi throughout the B&B. You’ll find a robe and hair dryer in your room, and Ray’s will stock your bathroom with soap, shampoo and conditioner.

Your king or queen bed is pillow-topped, and your room will have a desk if space allows. Each room has its own private bathroom. Except for the Cardinal Room and the Skylight Room, the baths are en suite. Most baths feature luxury tub and shower fixtures and radiant floor heat – an invaluable comfort on cold Chicago mornings.

Rays-breakfast-roomCooked-to-Order Breakfasts, Steam Room and Sauna

Ray’s is the only B&B kitchen making cooked-to-order breakfasts, so indulge yourself. Choose from their menu of eggs, omelets, pancakes and French toast, or select from daily specials like huevos locos, eggs Benedict, classic and vegan quiches, and green eggs and ham, which gets its color from pesto. If you can’t wait for a fresh-cooked breakfast, fill up on their buffet of fresh fruit, cereal, bread and yogurt. Ray’s provides kitchen access and free bottled water, coffee and tea throughout your stay.

Innkeeper Ray lives on-site, and the Main Wing used to be his photography studio. You can see his creative influence in the dining room lights, the eclectic living room décor and the walls adorned with local artists’ work, which you may purchase. You are welcome to use the computers, printers, fax and copier in Ray’s office area, and downstairs, past the vintage hairdryer and free laundry, you’ll find the steam room and sauna. Ray’s has two garage spaces available to guests, and the street parking around the B&B doesn’t require a permit.

The-Map-RoomResidential Streets and Sophisticated Avenues

Ray’s Bucktown Bed and Breakfast is on tree-lined, residential Leavitt Street, three blocks west of the excitement of Damen Avenue and eight blocks north of Bloomingdale Trail, the overhead dividing line between Wicker Park and Bucktown.

A quiet stroll down Leavitt Street will take you to Red June Café (2020 N. Leavitt St.), a nice spot for espresso and sandwiches. Continue down to Armitage Avenue and turn west to pick up a puzzle for yourself or a gift for a game-lover at Cat & Mouse Game Store (2212 W. Armitage Ave.) To take the Blue Line ‘L’ downtown, continue west on Armitage Avenue to the Western-O’Hare station. Venture east to Bucktown favorite The Map Room (1949 N. Hoyne Ave.). In the morning, it’s a coffeehouse with pastries, but before noon they begin serving beer, wine and liquor.

For more cosmopolitan tastes, head east on Webster Avenue to Damen Avenue. Just around the corner is The Bristol (2152 N. Damen Ave.), a highly respected farm-to-table, nose-to-tail restaurant open for dinner and weekend brunch. Try French bistro Le Bouchon (1958 N. Damen Ave.) for lunch and reserve a table at award-winning Takashi (1952 N. Damen Ave.) for their French-American dinner fare or their 11-course traditional Japanese “kaiseki,” served only on Sundays.

At the south edge of Churchill Field Park (1825 N. Damen Ave.), you’ll pass under a disused rail line that’s now the Bloomingdale Trail, an elevated linear park, and the boundary between Bucktown and Wicker Park. Continue south for more boutiques, late-night venues and the Blue Line’s Damen station.

Ray’s Bucktown Bed and Breakfast furnishes amenities and eclecticism just north of Wicker Park.