If my visit to C-View in Streeterville’s Affinia hotel had been a vacation instead of just feeling like one, I would have needed only three photos to tell the story of my trip: one of the gorgeous bar, one of my equally sleek drink, and a third of my beaming face.
In my ongoing quest to canvas the city’s best hotel lounges, I found, on the 29th floor of the Affinia, the closest thing Chicago has to the posh, breezy bars of Greece: a space effortlessly cool and undeniably sexy, where French elevator pop plays in the background and tan leather seating forms intimate nooks. It was bitingly cold outside on the evening of my visit, but, with the sun streaming in through the airy windows, my gray gloves seemed out of place resting on the bar. I shoved them into my coat pocket and thought of Santorini: the black beaches, the upscale menus, the overarching sense that life should be as smooth and sultry at noon as it is at midnight. C-View captures that mood: neither frantic nor dead, but oh-so smooth.
As were the drinks: a short list of $13 cocktails, classy but simple, most made from just three ingredients. I was happy with The Ruby, a glass of Maker’s Mark, amaretto, and cranberry rimmed with crushed smoked almonds. There’s also Champagne (try the $10 Gruet), fairly pricey beer ($6 Amstel Light), and a respectable selection of port and single-malt Scotch.
As with any trip—to Greece or to the grocery—there are highs and lows. C-View’s high: the rooftop terrace. Striking and unquestionably one of the city’s best outdoor spaces, the four-walled, wood-floored, ceilingless room is studded with large windows, giving patrons a stunning view of River North and the great blue yonder. A long communal table encourages making new acquaintances; orange loungers enhance the Euro feel.
The low: the bar snacks. As for freebies, there were none. While mourning the lack of wasabi peas, I scanned the menu for a munchable option. Fish tacos and oysters are about as two-handed as it gets. Other offerings (crab salad, roasted chicken with sausage and celery root) sounded appealing but had me longing for fries and leaving hungry—though with the knowledge that I would be back. The drinks aren’t the cheapest, but the take-me-away vibe is bargain luxury.