What's new at Chicago's rooftop lounges
Who wants sidewalk seating when you can be perched 27 floors in the air? Yes, beloved rooftop season is upon us, and three of Chicago’s best rooftop venues have updated for summer.
The hotel’s fancy outdoor restaurant overlooking the Chicago River has been revamped for summer 2012. “So Chic” is the new theme that should be noticeable throughout the décor, food and even the staff uniforms. In addition to the new look, the occupancy has increased by 20 percent. If you’re worried about not snagging a seat from the now 196 available, you can reserve The Octagon. For $1800, ten guests can sit around the eight-sided table (dibs on not having to share a side) and enjoy one magnum of Dom Perignon, a specialty cocktail and one extravagant seafood tower. If you’re not feeling fishy, the new dessert menu has “so chic” cakes and a not-for-kids mandarin vanilla float with Combier orange liqueur. 401 N Wabash Ave (312-588-8600). 2:30pm–11:30pm daily.
The Terrace at The Peninsula Chicago
Four floors above street level, the Terrace has a new theme for the season—The Golden Era: Revived. The name refers to 1930s swinging Shanghai, and with Shanghainese music in the background, the new atmosphere will have a fast-paced cosmopolitan feel yet also be glamorous and romantic (daybeds are available to reserve for a $400 food and beverage minimum). A permanent bar is also a new feature, at which you can try the signature cocktail, the Golden Apple, a combo of Absolut Orient Apple and Sauternes with 24-karat gold-leaf flakes. The new lunch menu, created by chef de cuisine Ivan Yuen, includes a variety of dim sum, cold noodles with spicy crab and Asian-inspired salads. So put on sunscreen, reserve a daybed and pretend you’re halfway around the world for a day. 108 E Superior St, 4th Fl (312-573-6695). 11:30am–11pm.
After a spring filled with renovations, one of the best rooftop bars in Chicago has gotten better. With the help of helicopters and cranes, an all-glass retractable roof was installed that allows for ROOF to be a year-round venue. For sports fans, a 6-by-12-foot HDTV is a new feature and because of the previously mentioned new roof, you can watch television rain or shine. For clubbers, a new LED light system and new DJ booth, coming later this summer, will make your nights even more, well, clubby. And all day long on Sundays, DJs will be spinning, dancers will be in swimwear and partiers will be donning free sunglasses and lip balm. That’s quite the Sunday. 201 N State St, 27th Fl (312-239-9502) Mon, Tue 4pm–midnight; Wed, Thu 4pm–2am; Fri, Sat 2pm–2am; Sun noon–10pm.
For 39 new outdoor eating and drinking options, check out this week's Alfresco Issue.