Hancock Observatory: World's highest bar and cafe?
While some of you may deem this squabble as pointless, competitive ad execs and public relations reps may beg to differ. If you haven’t heard about the riff between the two John Hancock based-businesses, allow me to hip you to speed. The Chicago Tribune ran a story last week where Observatory general manager Daniel Thomas touted Lavazza Espression—which began serving beer, international wines and fine spirits in late June—as the world’s highest bar and café. Of course, Thomas realizes the Signature Room houses a restaurant and lounge, two floors above the popular, scenic watchtower. But his argument is simple. Well, kind of. “The Signature Room is a restaurant and lounge. Without understating or over promising our business, we’re in fact a bar and café,” reiterated Thomas during our meeting. Say what you will about his technical interpretation, but he stands by it. I’m thankful this little tizzy occurred because it prompted me to pay a long, overdue visit to the iconic Observatory. The 2008–2009 multimillion-dollar renovations produced an awesome outdoors viewing section. You might recall the classic, coin-operated telescopes from yesteryear. They've been replaced with cutting edge technology. Say you’re visiting during the day, but curious to see the amazing skyline at night. Click the “night” option. It applies for “day,” too and there’s even a clear forecast perspective that nixes foggy, rainy days. Best of all, these POVs are available in real time. As for the café and bar, it deserves more attention than hype about its height. The chic, crimson and white, Euro-styled spot is cozy enough for families and handholding couples. Choose from an assortment of premium snacks including paninis, freshly made pastries and imported meats and cheeses. I’m not an Eat Out or Drink Up expert, but I l do recommend the yummy baked goat cheese with tomato-basil sauce ($9) or the Lavazza colada ($8). This creamy cocktail mix of chilled espresso, rum and vanilla gelato, along with the view from 1,000 feet up, makes a great way to spend a summer’s eve. Head to the Hancock Observatory, 875 N Michigan Ave, enter on Delaware Ave (877-875-6940). 8am–11pm; $15, seniors $14, kids $10.