Tuesday night I had the chance to check out C-View, the 29th-floor lounge in the Affinia Chicago. The bar is the counterpart to C-House, the hotel’s new restaurant from the James Beard–recognized chef Marcus Samuelsson, but don’t expect his full seafood menu in the lounge—at least, not yet. A staffer told me they’re still trying to figure out how to bus the food from the lobby-level restaurant to the 29th-floor bar. At Tuesday’s media party, just about the only things served were small bites of a lobster club sandwich, fish tacos, chorizo mac ‘n’ cheese, and Kumamoto oysters—an odd choice, considering the heat. The drinks were also free-flowing, but my pineapple mojito ($13) was so heavy on the muddled mint that it was all I tasted, and I spent the rest of the evening paranoid that I had little green leaves stuck in my teeth. Needless to say, I quickly switched to bubbly.
But more about the lounge, which opened to the public on Wednesday: It’s an indoor-outdoor oasis among the canyons of Streeterville, open 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday. The indoor bar is minimal—nothing particularly spectacular—but the adjacent open-air patio features a wall of lush greenery and flowers, wood flooring, wicker seating, and a tall oak communal table, where the sunglass-wearing girls who take their fashion seriously will likely congregate. The effect is something like hanging out on one of L.A.’s famed hotel terraces—until the ambulances from nearby Northwestern Memorial Hospital whiz by.
The outdoor space will stay open into October, weather permitting, with the aid of heat lamps. But C-View isn’t the only new rooftop lounge on the block. “That spillover business will be good for us,” said Gian Garofalo, the GM of C-House and C-View, when I asked about competition from nearby spots such as Zed451. “People get bored at one place and like to hop around,” he said. Following his theory, business should really start booming when the area’s other much-anticipated hotel rooftop terraces open: Sky Lounge in the Avenue Hotel, slated for later this month, and Vertigo Sky Lounge in the Dana Hotel and Spa, now slated for August.
Among the evening’s minglers, I spotted Don Deubler and Barth Adams, the guys behind the new locally distributed vodka-energy drink A:M. “Chicago has a strong late-night drinking crowd,” Adams said, when I asked why they chose to launch their product here. No kidding. I’m already a fan; I tried the drink at Chicago’s Summer Lovin’ event a couple of weeks ago. It tastes like Red Bull and vodka all in one, sans heart palpitations.
* * *
Three things to do this three-day weekend
Thursday, July 3: HUB 51—the new restaurant from 20-something brothers Jerrod and R. J. Melman, scions of Lettuce Entertain You’s Rich—holds a grand-opening bash benefiting Starlight Midwest, an organization that helps seriously ill children and their families. It’s all-you-can-drink for $30; the party starts at 10 p.m.
Friday, July 4: Rock the Fourth, Hollywood-style, at Rockit Bar & Grill. The night’s entertainment comes courtesy of L.A.-based indie band Ringside, whose personnel includes Balthazar Getty from the ABC show Brothers and Sisters. Specials include red, white, and blue cheesecake ($8), and Rockit Lemonade ($8), Bomb Pops ($8), and Rockit White Beer ($4). Doors open at 8 p.m.; Ringside goes on at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 at ticketweb.com.
Saturday, July 5: If you’re hanging out at North Avenue Beach this holiday weekend, or even if you’re not, head over to Krem for the bar’s summer-themed Skin Saturdays. Doors open at 3 p.m. with no cover; early arrivals might be able to grab a seat at one of the outdoor cabanas, or reserve one ahead of time by calling John at 312-375-5537. Drink specials include $5 frozen Bacardi mojitos, frozen passion fruit mojitos, frozen strawberry-kiwi margaritas, and $8 glasses of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne.