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The Venue Report Our Annual Look at New Locations 768 Places for Meetings & Events

PLUS: Outdoor Rentals Gifts That Give Back Attention-Getting Invites Summer Entertaining Tips Corporate Holiday Party Ideas

Chicago $4.95 SUMMER 2010 BIZBASH.COM

How Social Media Experts Do Face-to-Face Events

READER SURVEY How Your Job Is Changing




Photography by Phil Farber / Photo Images Inc.


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CHICAGO Volume 3, Issue 2 Summer 2010 © 2010 BizBash Media


Schawk Retail Marketing handles online, offline, and in-store marketing efforts for major retailers and brands, and on April 29, the company hosted an open house to showcase its capabilities in its 60,000-squarefoot West Loop photo studio. Some 300 guests attended the cocktail reception, which included photo shoots with Ford models, a cooking demo from Top Chef finalist Richard Blais, and vignettes that mimicked the sets used in Schwak’s advertising shoots. More photos and details are on

On the Cover For its annual ArtEdge benefit, the Museum of Contemporary Art created an all-white dinner space filled with candles and hanging manzanita branches. Photographed by Eric Craig for BizBash


FROM THE EDITORS Quick notes for short attention spans


READERS’ FORUM What are your must-haves for outdoor events?

THE SCOUT 13 Colored tape installations 14 Attention-grabbing invitations 15 How do you attract younger guests? 16 Meatless entrées Outdoor-friendly rentals 18 Caterer Elaina Vazquez 20 Corporate gifts with charitable tie-ins 22 An online marketing leader’s ambitious offline event 24 Stylish ways to communicate an organization’s purpose EVENT REPORTS 29 Diffa’s futuristic AIDS fund-raiser 31 The first-ever Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo 32 From New York: O, The Oprah Magazine’s 10th anniversary 34 From Boston: The Institute of Contemporary Art’s spring benefit 35 The Museum of Contemporary Art’s ArtEdge benefit 36 Hermes’ Chicago flagship’s Parisian opening party 37 From Las Vegas: Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List party moves cross country 38 The CS Brides Showcase 40 From Washington: The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner’s A-list after-parties 41 Nike’s temporary speakeasy


Holiday Parties Ideas for end-of-the-year gatherings directly from the people who plan them

49 The New Reality Planners’ biggest challenges, according to our reader survey 53 The Chicago Venue Report A roundup of Chicago’s newest spots for events, meetings, and entertaining THE DIRECTORY 60 Chicago venues TED KRUCKEL 80 Tips for beating the heat at summer events

ON BIZBASH.COM Comprehensive local venue and supplier directories The latest industry news Local sites for Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami/South Florida, New York, Orlando, Toronto, and Washington summer 2010 3

BIZBASH EDITOR IN CHIEF Chad Kaydo NEWS EDITOR Courtney Thompson STYLE EDITOR Lisa Cericola ASSOCIATE EDITORS Michael O’Connell, Anna Sekula









CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR AT LARGE Ted Kruckel WRITER AT LARGE, LOS ANGELES Irene Lacher CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Mimi O’Connor, Brendan Spiegel CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Meryl Rothstein, Andi Teran LOS ANGELES: Shilpa Gopinath, Rosalba Curiel TORONTO: Amy Lazar, Erin Letson WASHINGTON: Adele Chapin, Walter Nicholls COPY EDITOR Libby Estell, Josh Wimmer CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Vincent Dillio, Roger Dong, Nick Ferrari, Emily Gilbert, Dan Hallman, John Minchillo, Alice and Chris Ross, Keith Sirchio BOSTON: Aviran Levy, Patrick Piasecki CHICAGO: Mireya Acierto, Tyllie Barbosa, Barry Brecheisen, Eric Craig, Jeremy Lawson, Eddie Quinones LOS ANGELES: Matt Armendariz, BEImages, Jessica Boone, Nadine Froger, Line 8 Photography, Zen Sekizawa, Dale Wilcox MIAMI: Joseph Cancellare & Associates, Matthew Horton, Moris Moreno, Elizabeth Renfrow, Mitchell Zachs TORONTO: Gary Beechey, Jill Kitchener, Henry Lin, Emma McIntyre, Nicki Leigh McKean, George Pimentel WASHINGTON: Tony Brown/Imijination Photo, Stephen Elliot, FotoBriceno, Powers and Crewe EDITORIAL OFFICES 21 West 38th St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018 phone: 646.638.3600, fax: 646.638.3601 CHICAGO BUREAU 312.436.2525 LOS ANGELES BUREAU 310.659.9510

ASTONISHING CREATIVITY. FOR YOUR MOMENTOUS OCCASION. Discover the perfect balance of beauty and imagination at Renaissance® Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel. Evocative architecture. Inspired design. Whimsical touches. All in an elegant setting where exquisite catering and flawless planning blend seamlessly to create the wedding of your dreams. For reservations or more information, phone 847.303.4100 or visit

RENAISSANCE SCHAUMBURG CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL 1551 North Thoreau Schaumburg IL 60173 t: 847.303.4100

MIAMI BUREAU 1450 NE 123 St., North Miami, FL 33161 305.808.3535 TORONTO BUREAU 1 Thorncliff Park Drive, Suite 110, Toronto, ON M4H 1G9 416.425.6380 CONTACT US Editorial Feedback and Ideas: Event Invitations, Press Releases: Directory Listings: Subscription Inquiries: 646.839.6835, New Subscriptions: Subscription Renewals: Reprints: Dani Rose, The YGS Group 800.494.9051 ext. 125, BIZBASH MEDIA C.E.O. AND FOUNDER David Adler PRESIDENT Richard Aaron BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jonathan Adler (CHAIRMAN),

Richard Aaron, David Adler, Beverly Chell, Martin Maleska, Todd Pietri






BIZBASH NEW YORK 21 West 38th St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018 646.638.3600, fax: 646.638.3601 PUBLISHER Jacqueline Gould ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Lauren Stonecipher ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, NATIONAL VENUE GUIDE/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, BIZBASH BOSTON Andrew Carlin ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Erica Fand ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Kristie Hudson SALES ASSISTANT Robert Connell



From the Editors

Not-So-Deep Thinking No time for a long column? How about a few short thoughts?

Our L.A. keynote speaker Mindy Weiss A Confession I’m no expert on the finer financial points of the airline or hospitality industries, and surely executives or PR people from either could explain their various policies. My point is how these experiences make customers feel, which affects buying decisions. Advertising a cheap rate and then piling on additional costs might increase short-term revenue, but it’s not a good long-term branding strategy. More to the Event Industry Point You can have whatever excuses you want for a less-thanstellar guest experience, but the fact is guests don’t care. They remember what they remember, which might be the six-foot floral arrangements, or it might be the 20-minute valet wait. You can’t control what they talk about the next day, but you can influence what they experience. D.C. Status Update Most of the folks I encountered while covering the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner weekend in Washington were focused squarely on the guest lists of the various parties. They looked past the food to the famous faces, which I’ll grant in many cases was the more interesting choice. But some hosts still put out stylish spreads that would stand out in any market. Some highlights are on page 40. Weiss Is Nice Our L.A. keynote speaker, Mindy Weiss, started with photos from her own family gatherings—and self-deprecating asides about her former hairstyles. Moving on to the celebrity nuptials she’s known for, she gave a candid, funny presentation full of sound bites (as Colin Cowie did in Florida in April). “Great entertainment, great bar, great party.” “Every designer is focusing on lighting fixtures.” (She predicts we’ll see more residential fixtures at parties.) “Always end, if it’s in the budget, with fireworks.” Ka-boom. —Chad Kaydo


Last week I came across three interesting takes on how electronic media is affecting how we think and behave. First The New York Times ran a long front-page piece about the impact of our devotion to information-loaded screens (computers, smartphones, iPads, etc.) and toggling between their apps, emails, videos, texts, games, and RSS feeds. In a nutshell: Our multitasking is actually making it harder for us to move between tasks effectively. Next, on a flight from New York to our annual expo in Los Angeles, in Bloomberg BusinessWeek I read a review of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, a new book by Nicholas Carr. He says all those Facebook status updates and animated banner ads are zapping our ability to recall information and comprehend what we read. Lastly, while stopping for a drink at the Bazaar, the José Andrés restaurant inside the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, I skimmed an op-ed piece by Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker—using a Times app on my iPhone. He suggests everyone chill out about the above. Text messages and CNN screen crawls haven’t exactly slowed the pace of scientific discovery. And our experiences can’t change the brain’s basic capacities. All interesting points—and things to consider when developing event content. It’s also my excuse/inspiration for filling this space with random thoughts instead of a cohesive note. Here goes: Speaking of Flying The experience was filled with the indignities we’ve come to expect from airline travel. Extra fees for checked luggage, food, and Wi-Fi. (I’m half expecting to pay to rent a seat belt next time.) I folded myself into an exit row seat that somehow had less legroom than normal, if you can believe that. But Then… Consider the contrast of checking in at the new Andaz West Hollywood. The concept, as I see it, is modern boutique hotel design with homey service touches. (I’ve also toured the Andaz Wall Street in New York.) There’s no front desk; casually dressed roving staffers armed with tablet computers check you in while sitting on a sofa or standing at a kiosk. The minibar snacks and sodas are free, you pay for booze and beer. There is free Internet access, too, which always wins points from me. (I should note I stayed there because the hotel has a business deal with BizBash.)

Flowers from Vert-De-Gris at Politico’s brunch after the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner

112 W. Hubbard Street Chicago IL 60654 312.222.4940 |

Readers’ Forum

What are your must-haves for outdoor events? “I always make sure the attendees know an event is scheduled outdoors so they can plan accordingly. Spiked heels on the grass? Not such a good idea.” Karen Grunwald, director of sales, Tech Events, Sacramento

“Covers for food, festive citronella torches, and netting to eliminate the annoyance of insects. I also always have Velcro strips on hand to ensure that tablecloths stay in place when the wind picks up.” David Turk, president, Indiana Market & Catering, New York

“Bug repellent. I usually set up a table with both wipes and sprays—nothing like mosquitoes to ruin the most glamorous events. Other must-haves: cold water and plenty of ice, sunscreen, bandages for scrapes and bruises, and baby wipes for dirty feet.” Leila Marie Eid, assistant director of events, Northeastern University, Boston

“Personalized wetnaps. Especially during summer events, finger foods and desserts can get sticky very quickly. Guests are always pleasantly surprised by a small jar of them on the table, and it’s a place to add a monogram, theme, or thank you for their attendance.” Stacey Kallenberg, founder, As You Wish Event Design, New York

“Bathroom facilities, water, and power. In order to appreciate the food, camaraderie, and entertainment, guests need to be comfortable.”


Joan Rothbard, president, Recreation Picnic Services, New Jersey

“Great beverages. Sometimes wine and spirits aren’t in the budget, but you can do a lot with water. Water stations infused with fruits like strawberries, oranges, limes, or mint leaves can make water pretty and exciting to drink. ” Ula Francoise Zucker, events and media coordinator, City of Miami Gardens

“A contingency plan. There is no climate control outside, just climate management.” Nancy Solero, principal, the Event Refinery, Delaware

“Air-conditioned shelter, or at least overhead fans. Sunscreen, well-ventilated potties, caterers who understand what it means to cater outdoors, bug repellent, and handheld battery-operated fans. Also, knowledge of the terrain on which the event is held so you can mark off any areas where tree roots are above ground.” Joan Eisenstodt, meetings and hospitality consultant, Eisenstodt Associates LLC, Washington

“Bright colors to complement what Mother Nature has already provided.” Linette Young, Beyond Expectations Meetings and Events, San Francisco

Compiled by Claire Hoffman summer 2010 9


Whether you’re planning a daytime meeting or an evening celebration, the Chicago History Museum offers a sophistication and elegance you won’t find anywhere else. Spaces include reception, conference and breakout rooms, as well as an auditorium—all with access to our exhibition galleries. To host your event at the Chicago History Museum, call the Events Department at 312.799.2254.

Clark Street at North Avenue 312.642.4600

Dianne Velez, vice president, Colorblind Productions, New York

My Cool New Job Niels Schuurmans has been named the executive vice president of brand marketing and creative at Spike. Schuurmans has been senior vice president at the company since 2004. He previously spent 13 years at Nickelodeon.

“It’s time to take the brand to the next level and turn these shows into franchises. For our show Blue Mountain State, we went to college campuses and hosted games. We sponsored supercross, a motorcycle event. We don’t even air supercross, but those are the guys we want to speak to. We had logo presence and people at the tailgates handing out Spike stuff. I want consumers to actually touch and feel the brand.”


There’s A Better Way The Best Job Board in the Business FIND JOBS / POST JOBS / GET BACK TO WORK

“The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Korval is a lovely reminder of how the simplest of thoughtful gestures can determine a successful outcome of a project or event.” Gina Tepavchevich, meeting and event coordinator, board affairs, Radiological Society of North America, Chicago



“Contact Keeper ($12.99-$29.99,, a notebook with slots for business cards and space for writing notes. It keeps my contacts in order until I have the time to sit on my computer and input them.”

see a breathtaking performance, host an amazing event or thrill your guests with both!

Broadway In Chicago can help you design a cocktail reception for 1,100, plan a meeting for 2,244, entertain 350 dinner guests on stage or virtually any other experience imaginable.

Contact: Leslee Jones, Broadway In Chicago t 17 North State, Suite 810, Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 977-1701 ext.1273 t t

A meeting venue that’s ready to make history. ’‡‹‰ ƒŽŽ͚͙͘͘ǡ–Š‡‡™ ƒ””‹‘––̾Š‹…ƒ‰‘ǡŽ‘…ƒ–‡†‹‘‡‘ˆŠ‹…ƒ‰‘ǯ• …Žƒ••‹…„—‹Ž†‹‰•ǡ’—–•ƒ‘†‡”•’‹‘–‹‡Ž‡••‡Ž‡‰ƒ…‡Ȃ™‹–Š‡˜‡”›–Š‹‰›‘— ‡‡†ˆ‘”•—……‡••ˆ—Ž‡˜‡–•ƒ–›‘—”†‹•’‘•ƒŽǤ‘‘‘™ƒ†„‡ƒ‘‰–Š‡Ƥ”•––‘ †‹•…‘˜‡”–Š‹•‡š“—‹•‹–‡͆͛͡͞‹ŽŽ‹‘”‡•–‘”ƒ–‹‘Ǥ  ȉ ͜͜ǡ͘͘͘•“—ƒ”‡ˆ‡‡–‘ˆ‡‡–‹‰•’ƒ…‡ ȉȉ ͙͘͞Ƥ‡Ž›Ǧƒ’’‘‹–‡†‰— ͙͘͞Ƥ‡Ž›Ǧƒ’’‘‹–‡†‰—‡•–”‘‘•ǡ‹…Ž—†‹‰͚͡•—‹–‡• ȉȉ ͚͘ǡ͘͘͘•“—ƒ”‡Ǧˆ‘‘–•’ƒ™ ͚͘ǡ͘͘͘•“—ƒ”‡Ǧˆ‘‘–•’ƒ™‹–Š͙͜–”‡ƒ–‡–”‘‘•

‘‘‘™ƒ†‡ƒ””‹’Ž‡ƒ””‹‘––‡™ƒ”†•̾„‘—•’‘‹–•Ǥ ‘‘‘™ƒ†‡ƒ”” ‘”‘”‡‹ˆ‘”ƒ–‹‘ǡ…ƒŽŽ͙͚͛Ǥ͘͞͞Ǥ͚͘͘͠‘”˜‹•‹–Œ™ƒ””‹‘––…Š‹…ƒ‰‘Ǥ…‘Ǥ ‘”‘”‡‹ˆ‘”ƒ–‹‘ǡ…ƒŽŽ

ƒ””‹‘––Š‹…ƒ‰‘ ͙͙͝‡•–†ƒ•–”‡‡– Š‹…ƒ‰‘ǡ ŽŽ‹‘‹•͛͘͘͞͞ Š‘‡͙͚͛Ǥ͘͞͞Ǥ͚͘͘͠ ƒš͙͚͛Ǥ͘͞͞Ǥ͚͙͘͠ Œ™ƒ””‹‘––…Š‹…ƒ‰‘Ǥ…‘

ơ‡”˜ƒŽ‹†ƒ– ƒ””‹‘––Š‹…ƒ‰‘‘Ž›–Š”‘—‰Š‡…‡„‡”͚͙͘͘Ǥ‹•‹–Œ™ƒ””‹‘––…Š‹…ƒ‰‘Ǥ…‘ ơ‡ ˆ‘”…‘’Ž‡–‡‘ơ‡”†‡–ƒ‹Ž•ƒ†–‡”•Ǥ͚͙̽͘͘ƒ””‹‘–– –‡”ƒ–‹‘ƒŽǡ …Ǥ

The Scout


CAUGHT ON TAPE Austin, Texas-based artist Rebecca Ward ( uses colored gaffer tape to create vivid, site-specific installations that play off existing architecture. Ward lays evenly spaced lines of tape that crisscross ceilings and staircases, rise up from floors and walls, and form three-dimensional sculptures. Ward has done corporate commissions, including an eyecatching hot pink and yellow work for Kate Spade’s New York flagship store. Her installations can range from tape-only creations to more elaborate designs that incorporate video and projections. More photos of her work are on —Lisa Cericola

13 summer 2010



For its Best New Chefs event in New York in April, Food & Wine created postcards with images of cutlery and wine bottles printed by Corporate Color (800.242.5364,

Priority Mail By LISA CERICOLA

TEXTURE For the launch of music video Web site Vevo in New York in December, Alpine Creative Group (212.989.4198, alpine created a two-panel rubber invite that peeled apart. On the front was a holographic foil stamp of Vevo’s logo. The inside text was silk screened with a special ink that wouldn’t rub off. For the opening of Tyler Perry’s Atlanta studios, Creative Intelligence (323.936.9009, hand-wrapped each invitation in crushed silk taffeta. Inside, the center panel was engraved in metallic gold and merlot. Each invitation was wrapped in a cashmere paper sleeve with the recipient’s name calligraphed in gold.

John Kneapler Design (212.463.9774, johnkneaplerdesign. com) created a patriotic invite for the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation’s gala at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York in October.

TOYS In April, Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art held a press preview for an exhibit of work by Eadweard Muybridge, who pioneered stereographs, an early form of 3-D. Westland Enterprises (301.736.0600, westlandenter printed a Muybridge stereograph on natural cardstock. American Paper Optics (800.767.8427, provided 3-D glasses.

TYPE For an April 2009 wedding showcase, Mélangerie Inc. (646.248.7823, created a simple yet striking invitation based on a “naughty and nice” theme illustrated with two fonts in contrasting colors and styles.

Mackenzie Brown Design (312.443.1000, created a text-driven invite for the Chicago-based Adler Planetarium’s 2009 Celestial Ball, which had a “cosmic fusion” theme. To create an explosive look, the firm merged a vibrant stock image with a bold font on iridescent paper.

14 summer 2010


Paper invites can get lost in the shuffle. Here are seven that grabbed guests’ attention with…


How do you attract younger guests? By giving events a youthful edge, organizations can draw new customers and donors, and corporations can attract emerging talent or new customers. From carefully curated soundtracks to high-impact entertainment, here are some ways to draw fresh faces. In Chicago, Saks Fifth Avenue director of marketing Julie Selakovich tapped online magazine, which has a core readership of 25- to 40-year-old women, to publicize an in-store fashion show. Saks and Cheeky staffers selected “six influential, fashionable people in Chicago,” including PR reps and members of the media, to serve as hosts and models. The event had a fun, low-key vibe with a shiny pink runway by Kehoe Designs, a DJ, and refreshments from sponsors MGD 64 and VitaminWater Zero. Through email blasts from Cheeky, postings on social networking sites, and word-of-mouth publicity from the host committee, the event drew 150 guests. “More than half were new customers to Saks Fifth Avenue,” Selakovich says. In April, Hillary Smith and Sarah Turk of Miami’s Koncept Events worked on a national road show to promote Cover Girl’s Clean Founda-

tion line of cosmetics. Held in the parking lots of stores such as Rite Aid and Walgreens, the events offered free makeovers and product education. Because the makeup is geared toward 13- to 21-year-old women, the events’ “marketing, signage, color palette, and even the uniforms and look of the makeup artists, were chosen to appeal to that age range,” Smith says. “We also created a playlist with that age group in mind, [with] artists such as Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga.” Smith says the coupon redemption for Clean Foundation products was “through the roof” and estimates that 75 to 90 percent of guests purchased products on site. In the nonprofit realm, planners are using after-parties to target emerging philanthropists. When the Art Institute of Chicago debuted its Matisse exhibition in March, the women’s board hosted an elegant gala with a champagne reception, a string quartet, and a three-course dinner. Geared toward a younger crowd, a separate event—new this year—started at 10 p.m. in the museum’s upper-level restaurant. There, guests found pillowstrewn lounge areas, a dance floor with disco balls, and a buffet of sliders and French fries. Dubbed “Radical

Ask BizBash

Night,” the event had a separate host committee comprised of young area United Enterprofessionals. tainment Group, Some 350 guests, Cover Girl’s New most in the 21-to York-based PR 40-year-old age and marketing range, attended. agency, enlisted The party was Koncept Events “certainly a great to stage a fivesuccess,” says city road show director of donor geared toward initiatives Anne women who are Henry. “It raised just starting to a bit of money. use makeup. More importantly, though, it was an opportunity to welcome a new audience. All ticket purchasers who were not already members of the museum received a membership with their ticket.” Jung Lee, co-founder of New York production company Fête, says that clients with particularly dry corporate cultures hire her to produce events that will help retain younger employees. In addition to keeping current staffers, she says, “great corporate events can be selling tools to attract great new talent during the recruiting process.” Lee says that uninteresting

entertainment is a common mistake at corporate gatherings. “Most event entertainment goes on a little too long,” she said. “Young employees have a shorter attention span and will get bored.” Lee recommends hiring entertainers who can deliver short, high-impact performances that incorporate contemporary humor. She has wrangled up-andcoming comedian Aziz Ansari and talent from Second City Entertainment. She’s also hired a professional pickpocket artist to roam cocktail receptions and pluck guests’ watches and wallets. —Jenny Berg

Peel-and-Stick Lights

An LED-lit bar

Ideal for trade show booths, bars and tables, or product displays, Invisiled Tape is an adhesive strip of LED lighting from W.A.C. Lighting (516.515.5000, To use, just cut the product to the desired length and adLI G HTI N G here. The company also offers mounting clips for added security. The lighting is available in amber, blue, green, red, white, and a rotating palette, and lasts about 50,000 hours. The company also recently released an outdoor version of the product that can withstand rain and other conditions. Retail pricing starts at about $75 per foot for the single-color indoor version. —Lisa Cericola

Multiple USigns can be linked to create a tower.

D.I.Y. SIGNAGE Ideal for exhibits or check-in stations, Sentina’s (908.964.8109, USign allows planners to create their own illuminated signs. The lightweight display frames are made of recycled plastic and have built-in LED lighting. To create a custom display, print a sign on TR ADE SHOWS an 8- by 11-inch transparency sheet and slide it into the frame. USigns cost $80 each and can be linked together to create a freestanding tower. —L.C. summer 2010 15

New on the Menu

Meat-Free and Memorable Vegetarians often get short shrift on event menus. Here are three substantial meatless entrees. By LISA CERICOLA

Tofu cabbage rolls in ginger broth with chrysanthemum greens and bok choy, from Daniel et Daniel (416.968.9275, in Toronto

Grilled vegetable napoleon of eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and phyllo with roasted red pepper sauce and goat cheese, from Phil Stefani Signature Events (312.226.7611, in Chicago

For Rent


Solei coffee table, $120, available throughout California from Designer8 Event Furniture Rental (800.709.7007,

IsabellĂŠ linen-burlap sofa, $350, available across the U.S. from Suite 206 (214.749.0400,

These six outdoor-friendly rentals incorporate natural touches such as wood, rattan, burlap, and faux shrubbery. By LISA CERICOLA

Meridian Leaf lounge, $237, available across the U.S. and Canada from Cort Event Furnishings (888.710.2525,

16 summer 2010

ButterďŹ&#x201A;y Effect tables, $220 each, available across the U.S. from Fresh Wata (323.951.0617,

Boxwood hedge planter, $535, available throughout Southern California from FormDecor (714.493.9501,

Broadway chair, $250, available across the U.S. from AFR Furniture Rental and Event Furnishings (888.237.7368,


Vegetable paella with saffron-scented rice, tofu, and vegetables, from Contemporary Catering (310.558.8190, in Los Angeles



Fresh Face

PERSONAL CHEF Elaina Vazquez draws on her fine-dining background to cook globally inspired multicourse menus for meetings and events. says. “I originally wanted to bring small, elegant, multi-course dinners into people’s homes.” Before long, Vazquez was also getting tapped to cater corporate events and fundraisers with as many as 500 guests. “Even with hundreds of guests, I try to give each dish the flavor of something you’d get at a small high-end restaurant,” Vazquez says. She describes her cuisine as a mix of contemporary American and French, with a few Latin flavors from her Puerto Rican background. Apart from her cooking style, Vazquez says her business is unique because of the personal attention clients receive. “I am always physically at each event. I have found that many catering companies don’t have this obvious front-and-center person.” Last fall, Boutique Bites

A GREEN SOURCE FOR FLOWERS Lynn Fossbinder founded Pollen (773.387.1398,, a Ravenswood-based floral design company, last July. Originally focused on weddings, Fossbinder is extending her offerings to corporate and nonprofit clients. Using locally grown DE CO R flowers and greens whenever possible, her arrangements incorporate blooms such as peonies, dahlias, delphiniums, and orchids from a greenhouse in Villa Park. Fossbinder uses a hybrid car for deliveries and composts all organic byproducts of An arrangement of her work. —J.B. billy balls by Pollen

18 summer 2010

prepared three courses for a 150-guest benefit for the Josslyn Center for Mental Health at the Kenilworth Elaina Club. The menu was Vazquez inspired by classic comfort foods, and offerings included deviled eggs with Japanese spices and butternut squash risotto. “Elaina is able to beautifully match tastes and colors to a season, and she couldn’t be more creative and meticulous,” says event chair Ila Rotschild. “She also has an expert staff. The people at the venue said that when [Boutique Bites] left, the kitchen looked like it had been cleaned by a professional.” —Jenny Berg

Corn soup with curried popcorn and truffle oil

Cupcakes from Sweet Miss Giving’s

Treats for a Good Cause Sweet Miss Giving’s (312.255.8470,, a bakery on the near north side, donates more than 50 percent of its proceeds to Chicago House, an organization that supports AIDS-affected locals CATE R I NG and operates a jobs program for disabled adults. Able to cater meetings and events, the bakery once prepared 5,400 frosted cookies for a corporate client. Signature items include red velvet cupcakes, oatmealraisin cookies, and morning glory muffins. —J.B.


After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Elania Vazquez landed jobs at Tru and Avenues at the Peninsula, then headed out west to cook at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion at MGM Grand. In Las Vegas, several locals asked her to cater events in their homes on her days off, and while whipping up six-course dinners for social functions, Vazquez found her calling. “I realized that I kind of wanted to get out of restaurants,” she says. “This catering idea began floating around in my head.” About a year later, Vazquez packed her bags and headed back to Chicago, where she founded Boutique Bites Catering (847.334.6525, in 2008. “Because I had so much fine-dining experience, I was used to smaller courses and portions,” she

The Women’s Bean Project (womensbean hires women in poverty to create and package food items like salsa, chili, and bean soup mixes. Gift baskets start at $30.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer (646.454.0386, funds pediatric cancer research through the sale of baked goods, $30 per dozen.



Rara coasters, $12.95 for four, from the Hunger Site (888.355.4321, are made by Haitian artisans out of recycled materials and support Partners in Health.

These 10 corporate goodies have built-in charitable tie-ins. By LISA CERICOLA

Cards for Causes (888.832.4153, cards creates personalized stationery, starting at $105 for 100 cards. Twenty percent of proceeds go to any licensed charity.

20 summer 2010

Through Bright Endeavors (773.388.2811, brightendeavors. org), homeless and at-risk young women make Dreambeam soy candles in recycled glass containers, $12 to $45.

New Orleans-based What’s Surbag (whatsurbag-usa. com) creates tote bags, $14.95 and up, that support Hope House’s food and shelter assistance, adult learning programs, and other services.

This unisex scarf, $30, from the Yellow Bird Project (yellowbird benefits organizations such as Mercy Corps and Greenpeace.

Chocomize (856.375.2041, offers 90 ingredients to create custom candy bars that start at $4 each. A small percentage goes to one of three charities, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Charity: Water’s (646.688.2323, stainless steel Thermos hydration bottle, $42, funds 20 years of clean water for two people in developing nations.


Ten percent of proceeds from Presents for a Purpose’s (212.580.0515, presentsforpurpose. com) oilcloth toiletry bag, $25, go to one of 23 charities, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Strategy Session

Social Life The social media gurus at Mashable drew a sold-out crowd to their most ambitious offline event yet, a daylong conference during New York Internet Week. Attendees tweeted and blogged from the conference.

Sponsor Motorola set up a photo booth and gave each attendee a phone.

Mashable editor in chief Adam Ostrow interviewed Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley. CNN co-hosted the summit and linked to online content from the day.

22 summer 2010

Like so many technology fests, New York Internet Week is a booze-soaked labyrinth of panels, launches, and networking events. It provides a brief, face-to-face respite for guests whose lives and professions revolve almost entirely around a glowing computer screen, so getting them to commit to one daylong event, in a week crammed with dozens of different initiatives, requires a compelling pitch. That was the dilemma for social media blog Mashable, whose previous Internet Week outing was a mixer with little opportunity for branding or audience education. Since it was founded in 2005, Mashable has become the de facto authority on marketing with social media and is only bested in U.S. blog traffic by the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. Looking to create a signature event that could cater to the varied interests of its readership while providing an attractive opportunity for sponsors, the brand put on the Mashable Media Summit at the Times Center on June 8. Instead of typical conference panels, the summit lined up an entire day of presentations from social and digital media experts in arenas as diverse as hospitality, music, consumer branding, video production, and location technology, all speaking about how Web marketing and promotions worked to their advantage. By casting the widest possible net, Mashable hoped to court an equally diverse group of guests. “We’re known for throwing parties, but that’s not really what we’re about,” says Brett Petersel, who handles Mashable’s business development and events, but had never done anything on the scale of the summit. “I think it was time to see if we could really do something big like this.” After being heavily promoted on the site and appearing on recommended event lists from CNET and the Daily Beast, the summit drew a

sold-out crowd of more than 400. Attendees paid $499 for their nearly eight hours of live programming. “We didn’t really target specific people,” Petersel said. “We just put it out there, what we were doing, for the people who might be somewhat familiar with the terminology but wanted to learn how to do it and wanted to hear it from people who’d done it well.” Mashable looked to speakers who were recognizable, but not familiar speaking circuit faces. Coordinating with business and editorial staffers, Petersel brought in more than 20 experts, including Foursquare co-founder Dennis CrowBrett Petersel ley; Starbucks vice president of brand, content, and online Chris Bruzzo; and actor Edward Norton, who made a recent foray into social media with a fund-raising Web site called Crowdrise. Securing marketing partners ended up being easier. “A lot of sponsors just came to us,” said Petersel. He had worked with many of the brands before, though typically on events that offered less exposure. “As for the others, we approached our sponsors the same way we always do, giving them the opportunity to meet our audience, do some business, and see firsthand how much we’ve grown.” Yahoo, HP, and Motorola— which gave each attendee a new phone—were among the brands that came on board. The biggest partnership of all was with CNN. Mashable chief operations officer Adam Hirsch, who first came up with the idea of the summit, brought on the cable news network as an official co-host in the early stages. All of the day’s content—in addition to being streamed on Mashable—was available online via direct links on CNN’s home page. However, as might have been expected in a group so focused on social media, it was the guests who provided much of the content promotion. From start to finish, the conference offered the very meta sight of most attendees clacking out blog entries on laptops and Blackberries and stealthily tweeting from their new iPads.



Mission Statements Decor can be more than just a backdrop. These six events show how stylish details can communicate an organization’s message or purpose. By LISA CERICOLA

At its May benefit in New York, the Robin Hood Foundation communicated its mission through six verbs—teaches, heals, feeds, nurtures, trains, and shelters—showcased in streetscapes in the cocktail area created by Peter Crawford, Atomic Design, and PEDG.

In April, Feeding South Florida threw a military-themed event to illustrate the food bank’s mission to win the war on hunger. Guests drank “hand grenade” cocktails, a photo exhibit showed images of people affected by hunger, and tables had camo-patterned linens and wooden folding chairs from Panache, a division of Classic Party Rentals.

At Unicef’s April gala in Chicago, Kehoe Designs used moss to spell out the number of children who reportedly die from preventable causes. Unicef’s mission is to decrease that number to zero, hence the event’s theme, “Believe in zero.”

ON BIZBASH.COM More photos and ideas from these events

24 may/june 2010

At Boys & Girls Club of Boston’s House Party in May, Rafanelli Events celebrated the organization’s athletic program by decorating the space with red and white basketballs, footballs, and pennants branded with the tagline “Invest in a child, inspire a future.”

At the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s Butterfly Ball in May, Chicago’s Bukiety Inc. created centerpieces of flowers that were later replanted in the museum’s butterfly garden. The Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative Foundation and Colon Cancer Canada hosted its “Bottoms Up!” fund-raiser in May. Attendees purchased T-shirts that read “Smart Ass,” A La Carte Kitchen served desserts shaped like derrieres, and live auction items included toilet seats painted by notable designers.


Idea File


PRSA Chicago’s July Luncheon

INSIDE EDGE Lincoln Park Zoo’s Opens Nature Boardwalk to Events Lincoln Park Zoo’s recently completed Nature Boardwalk creates a unique urban ecosystem with spectacular views of the Chicago skyline. Made with 100% recycled materials, the 1/2 mile boardwalk meanders around a serene pond and through native habitat for painted turtles, owls and the endangered black-crowned night heron. This idyllic promenade can be incorporated into events at either the Peoples Gas Education Pavilion or the Great Hall at Café Brauer. (312.742.2400,

Lettuce Entertain You Teams Up with Taste America What do you get when you pair a premier restaurant company with a leading caterer? Lettuce Off-Premise Events, the new partnership from Lettuce Entertain You and Taste America Catering. This partnership makes Lettuce’s famous cuisine available for any type of event in any venue whether it’s a reception in Millenium Park or dinner on a cruise ship. (312.527.9222,

Event Creative Opens Stunning Two-Floor Venue Event design firm Event Creative has designed a lot of big spaces in its time; now it has one of its own. Venue One’s 12,000 square foot event space features elegant columns, high ceilings and sweeping views of the Chicago skyline. Venue One’s two floors can be configured for everything from intimate social functions to 1000-person corporate events. (312.327.0111, www.

Attendees at the Chicago Public Relations Society of America July 13th luncheon were treated to an outstanding corporate roundtable and learned first-hand what issues keep Chicago’s leading corporate public relations practitioners up at night plus how to successfully manage those challenges. Guests were treated to delicious food from Maggiano’s Little Italy and enjoyed reading the most recent edition of BizBash Chicago magazine while discussing the upcoming BizBash Chicago Expo & Awards. If you are interested in getting your association connected with BizBash events, please contact Marissa Rubin at 646-839-6838 or marissa@ PRSA Chicago Board Member Dawn McKenzie with her BizBash Magazine


John Hancock Observatory Opens Full Liquor Bar Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better than taking in breathtaking 360Âş views of Chicago from the John Hancock Observatory? Those same views with a top-shelf cocktail in hand. The worldfamous Observatory just opened a full liquor bar to complement the only open-air SkyWalk in town, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most advanced telescope technology and a multimedia tour. With affordable bar packages, catering solutions and a 600-person capacity, the Observatory is the perfect venue for a high visibility event. Literally. (312.654.5021, www.

Classic, GMIC and BizBash Partner on Green Event Mentorship Program Classic Party Rentals, the Green Meeting Industry Council and BizBash Media have united to create the Green Event Mentorship program. This national initiative will train industry professionals to mentor their peers on how to incorporate sustainable practices into their meetings and events. Keep an eye out for more information at and In the meantime, learn about green meetings and events from GMIC at

Coming in your next BizBash Magazine â&#x20AC;˘ Last-Minute Holiday Party Ideas as â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Time to Celebrate e the Season, but What to Do? â&#x20AC;˘ Event Planners of the Year â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Our Editors Reveal the Event Strategists Who Shined. Learn Their Secrets to Success. â&#x20AC;˘ Audio/Visual Production/ Staging â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Practical Ideas for Planners

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3 Subscribe today at, using the subscription form in the magazine or by calling Tracey Harilall at 646-839-6835. 3 To reserve ad space, please contact Sue Babin at 312-436-2526 or



















Something Different Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS brought a futuristic look to the Palomar House Hilton for its annual gala on June 12.


An illuminated blue wall served as a backdrop for the evening’s speaking program.

The white dance floor, which Tom Kehoe called a “runway dance floor,” was 117 feet long.

The charity’s logo adorned tabletop vases.

Floating candles topped the round tables, where futuristic bowls held glowing LED lights.

30 summer 2010

has an uncanny resemblance to the look of the 2009 gala,” said Cassis. “It’s very baroque, and very red. And people hadn’t seen the ballrooms yet, so at the beginning they thought this was just a continuation of last year’s event.” Instead, the ballroom had a blue-and-white look designed by Tom Kehoe of Kehoe Designs. Meant to represent the future, the space held fog The Diffa AIDS fund-raiser got fog machines that imparted “an ethereal, othermachines and a futuristic theme. worldly, almost dewy quality,” said Cassis. “The room felt like a movie during a flash-forward seA red, white, and blue color scheme quence. It had the feeling of not being in the now.” CHICAGO is a staple of summertime parties. The event raked in an estimated $365,000 But at the June 12 gala for the Chicago chapter of and drew 520 guests. Design Industries Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, the Apart from raising Foundation Fighting hues nodded to something other than the Ameri- funds, the evening AIDS Chicago’s Gala can flag. According to co-chair Richard Cassis, the served as the unofblack-tie affair used red to represent the past, ficial social kickoff of Catering, Sound, Venue Palmer House Hilton while blue and white symbolized the future. NeoCon, a confer“The overarching theme for the Diffa Chicago ence and expo for the Decor, Design Kehoe Designs campaign is ‘believe,’ and we started that last contract furnishings DJ, Entertainment Circuit year,’” said Cassis. “In 2009, the gala concept was industry that took Mom Productions ‘Believe in the magic of the moment.’ The whole place at the Merchan- Entertainment Opus 3 Artists thing was very done up, with gilded frames and dise Mart earlier in Event Management, lush reds and purples. This year, our vision was ‘Be- the week. The crowd Production Total Event lieve 2010, see 2020,’ which represented a perfect was mostly NeoCon Resources Graphic Design, Printing, vision of an AIDS-free world. So we were talking attendees, including Signage, Web Site Design about the future, which we hope is a world with- interior designers, Sparc Inc. out AIDS.” fashion designers, and Lighting VLS Inc. To infuse the gala with a futuristic vibe, executives from such Linens Sculptware, BBJ Linen planners—somewhat ironically—wanted to start companies as SteelVideo PSAV Presentation in the past. “We started with cocktails in the Red case and Herman Services Lacquer Room of the Palmer House Hilton, which Miller. —Jenny Berg

Forward Thinking


Long, illuminated tables held rectangular vases wrapped in the Diffa logo and filled with floating votive candles.

Guests could also scoop up vintage comic books.

Comic Strip


The producers of Comic Con brought a new expo—and stormtroopers—to Chicago. On April 16 at McCormick Place, a CHICAGO grown woman wearing silky blue cat ears squealed over a little girl sporting a mini Superwoman cape. A couple, both wearing white face makeup that recalled Heath Ledger’s character from the last Batman movie, strolled past, and in another corner, a man hawking custom corsets asked a passersby: “May I have the pleasure of tying you up?” In short, there were plenty of curiosities at the first Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, held at the convention center from April 16 to 18. The first-time event was produced by the Reed Exhibitions Pop Culture Group, the team that organizes New York’s Comic Con. “Our customers, and particularly the big publishers like Marvel and DC and Dark Horse, really wanted to see a large-scale, broad-base, pop culture event that is professionally run take place in Chicago,” said Lance Fensterman, Reed’s Connecticut-based vice president of publishing and pop culture. “When your customers tell you what to do, it makes it easy to make the decision to do it.” Fensterman explained that Chicago has a “really strong comic retailer community. The Chicago area alone has about three times as many comic retailers as all of New York, and a really strong educational community. The city has a great mix of fans, students, and creators.” Even with a seemingly built-in base of enthusiasts, Fensterman said that the greatest challenge of launching the new event was “trying to get market awareness, and getting our customers to support something that has never been done before.” He said that Reed’s strategy was to “work the base and motivate the hard-core comic book fans,” including original content creators, comic book artists, and fans. The show drew around 27,500 attendees and offered 200 exhibitors, 175 panels and screenings, and appearances from industry names such as Neil Gaiman, Chris Ware, and Alex Ross. Chicago Comic & Fensterman said that Entertainment Expo the show will return Audiovisual Production to McCormick Place Lakeshore Audiovisual next April, and will Catering, Venue McCormick Place become an annual Signage Global Experience occurrence. Specialists (GES) —Jenny Berg

Throughout the weekend, guests gathered around the Marvel booth to watch video game demonstrations and participate in giveaways and mock game shows. In an area called “Artists Alley,” artists sketched and signed autographs throughout the weekend.

Buttons, drawings of the film character Edward Scissorhands, and gargoyle masks were available for purchase.

Marvel was one of several major comic book publishers to exhibit. Others included Dark Horse and DC.

At its booth, Fox Valley Tattoo demonstrated services on guests.

Kids had the opportunity to have their photos snapped with costumed Stormtroopers. july/august 2010 31

Saturday afternoon’s Live Your Best Life event took over part of the Javits Center, filling it with seminars, activities, and sponsor activations.

Orman, Dr. Mehmet Oz, designer Nate Berkus, and others—and a small trade show of participating sponsors. “We kept our seminar piece intact, but we wanted to dress it up with other events. Slowly Oprah Winfrey’s magazine marked 10 but surely, we layered all of the pieces on it,” Manyears with a sold-out weekend of events. ning said. Those other elements included a separate registration event to welcome the attendees For the 10th Anniversary of O, (from all 50 states and abroad), the live evening NEW YORK The Oprah Magazine, the media program with Winfrey at Radio City Music Hall on queen brought in all of her different properties Saturday, and the public charity walk. for a weekend of events for 5,500 women that After announcing the program, O received included a registration kickoff party, seminars overwhelming interest in the weekend, but decidat the Javits Center, a performance at Radio City, ed early on to cap attendance at 5,500, the capacity and a Mother’s Day charity walk. at Radio City. “We didn’t want to sell Oprah’s Live Your Best “It’s been a little over a year the events individually,” Manning Life Weekend since we started working on this,” said, “so we decided to make it a full Party Production Empire said O associate publisher of weekend event by limiting to the Entertainment Inc. marketing Stefanie Manning. “And capacity of the program venue.” Party Venue Radio City while the magazine put this on, On Sunday, May 9, the regisMusic Hall we worked in tandem with all the trants were joined by an additional PR Susan Magrino Agency Oprah properties, which was a first.” Registration Catering 5,000 members of the public for a Thomas Preti Caterers O marketing art director Jessica Mother’s Day charity walk to Times Registration Lighting Podoshen came up with the design Square, which, after the bomb Bentley Meeker Lighting for the weekend, and the magazine scare the week before, ended up & Staging Registration Production, enlisted Empire Entertainment and being one of the more complicated Seminar Production LeadDog Marketing to produce the elements of the weekend. LeadDog Marketing Group different events. “That was a little frightening, Inc. The magazine holds signature but we worked hand-in-hand with Registration Venue Gotham Hall events every year, but this was the the city,” Manning said. The walk Seminar Lighting PRG first in New York and the first to went off without a hitch, and after Lighting incorporate so many different eleleading more than 10,000 walkers Seminar Venue Jacob K. ments. The Live Your Best Life events from the Intrepid to Times Square, Javits Convention Center Walk Staffing Lipari have previously been limited to a Winfrey took the stage and conProduction Group day of seminars with magazine cluded the weekend’s festivities. Walk Venue Times Square contributors—finance expert Suze —Michael O’Connell

At the end of Sunday’s charity walk, Winfrey took to a stage in Times Square to address the crowd and wrap up the weekend.

Attendees tacked messages onto the Inspiration Wall at the Javits Center. Sponsor L’Oréal Paris offered makeovers, sampling, and tips at the Javits Center and the day before at Gotham Hall.

32 july/august 2010


The Big 1-O


Photo credit: Rick Aguilar Studios

Bright flowers and driftwood added an organic vibe to the contemporary dinner decor.

New Addition The I.C.A. took its gala to a raw space this year, and introduced an after-party. The Institute of Contemporary Art hosted its annual spring fund-raising event on May 7, this year attracting larger crowds with its first-ever after-party, dubbed “Party on the Harbor.” The evening kicked off with the “A Gala Celebration” cocktail party and dinner in the adjacent One Marina Park building in Fan Pier. “We wanted to liven up the night. Not everyone could come to the dinner, and it was a nice way to let people come and not invest in a major ticket price,” said Susie Allen, the museum’s Astroturf and illuminated director of special bars transformed the raw events. office space for cocktail hour.



Mini screens placed on serving trays displayed work from the museum’s teen programs.

Using green Astroturf, fake hedging, and glowing plastic bars, PBD Events transformed the 13th floor of the new Marina Park Building from a raw, concrete-and-glass shell. Custom, industriallooking light bulb chandeliers and mirrored tables contrasted with wooden tabletops and tropical flowers for an organic-meets-contemporary vibe. Inspired by the museum’s Dr. Lakra exhibition, servers donned T-shirts with tattoo designs by the artist. Max Ultimate Food provided a martini juice bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, a twocourse meal, and an old-fashioned ice cream truck outside. Large arrows formed from white fluorescent lights guided the 430 dinner guests to walk across the boardwalk to the I.C.A., where they joined 300 additional guests. Packed with entertainment and special activities, the fete included henna tattoo stations and a photo booth that projected the images it took around the building. Local band Endway provided live music for a secondI.C.A. Gala floor dessert lounge Catering Max Ultimate supplied by Wolfgang Food, Wolfgang Puck Catering Puck Catering. Decor, Production, Rentals Downstairs, DJ PBD Events (Party by Ruckus performed Design) and guests were ofDJ DJ Ruckus Entertainment Endway fered I.C.A. branded Flowers Winston Flowers flip-flops for their Rentals Be Our Guest Inc. sore feet at the Venue Institute of end of the evening. Contemporary Art —Erica Corsano

During the park-theme cocktail reception, guests helped themselves to cocktails in water coolers.

Giant branches and floating candles decorated a sunken area in the all-white dinner room, where 400 guests had vodka shots, caviar, burgers, and fries.

Planners aimed to “break the party down into those three different elements,” Merlin said. “We loved the idea of [juxtaposing] a beautiful, elegant dinner with somewhere to engage your inner child, play, and have fun with cocktails.” As The Museum of Contemporary Art for the after-dinner rock concert from Camp Fredmixed caviar, rock stars, and a teeter dy—a cover band whose rotating cast of famous totter at its annual fund-raiser. musicians featured Dave Navarro on guitar for the event— “our chair felt very strongly that that part At the May 14 ArtEdge benefit, host- of the party would have a down-and-dirty rock CHICAGO ed by the Museum of Contemporary theme,” Merlin said. The benefit’s ever-changing look gave Merlin Art, guests engaged in a variety of seemingly incongruous activities. During the cocktail reception and the Event Creative team a tight time frame in which to flip the space. As soon as at Venue One, the new event space guests left the park-theme cocktail owned and represented by Event Museum of reception and headed downstairs Creative, partygoers blew bubbles, Contemporary Art’s for dinner, staffers got to work played hopscotch, and doodled on ArtEdge Benefit upstairs. In one hour, they plastered chalkboards. By dinnertime, they Catering Wolfgang Puck concert posters over chalkboards were feasting on caviar in a sleek, Catering Celebrity Wrangling Diane and replaced white seat cushions all-white space filled with candles, Meagher Event Inc. with black ones on swing sets and and the night ended with a rock Design, Flowers, lounge furniture. A blue-and-purple concert on a skull-adorned stage. Production Kim Merlin lighting scheme gave the after-party According to Kim Merlin, an Draping, Lighting, Production, Props, Sound, a moody vibe, and the illuminated event designer and set decorator Staging, Video Event bar—white during cocktail hour— who has worked on such films as Creative was covered with black panels with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Entertainment Camp die-cut skull and crossbones. three buzzwords contributed to the Freddy There was one more surprise in night’s multiple themes. In planning Furniture Rentals Taylor Creative Inc. store for guests who stuck around sessions with Gina Crowley, the muInvitations Scott Reinhard all evening: At about 11 p.m., unanseum’s director of special events and Linens BBJ Linen nounced guest Chrissie Hynde of rentals, chair Cari Sacks, the volunPrinting Lowitz & Sons Rentals Classic Party the Pretenders appeared onstage teer planning committee, and proRentals and sang her hit “Brass in Pocket” ducers from Event Creative, “three Security, Valet VIP Valet as museum donors danced along. words were bandied about,” Merlin Venue Venue One —Jenny Berg said. “They were eat, play, rock.”


Eat, Play, Rock

With a park theme, the cocktail reception offered an indoor swing and daisy-lined sod. With Dave Navarro on guitar, Camp Freddy covered rock classics such as “Paradise City.”

Wolfgang Puck Catering’s caviar with smoked salmon, egg, and toasted brioche. During the one-hour flip, staffers covered the illuminated bar with black die-cut panels. july/august 2010 35

Outside the store, Redmoon performers dressed as stilt-walking horses in custom Hermès suits flown in from New York and fitted on site.

Performers from Redmoon donned horse masks and sang a short customized opera.

the corner of Rush and Oak Streets on a Thursday?” Turns out, the job involved getting permits from the city to erect no-parking signs outside the store early Thursday morning. A local farmer delivHermès opened its Chicago flagship ered the bales on a flatbed truck at 6 a.m. A team with opera-singing horses and of 14 assistants then unloaded the props, covered beribboned hay bales. their bands in Hermès ribbons, and doused them with a flame-retardant spray before arranging There are standards, and then there them on the curb. “At the end of the night, we had CHICAGO are Parisian standards. When proto do the whole process in reverse,” Valenti added. ducing the June 8 opening party for Hermès’s Valenti also had to overcome logistical Midwestern flagship store—a 6,000-square-foot hurdles to respect the venue’s aesthetic quality. space in the former Barneys building—planners “The store has exact, clean lines and a beautihad to adhere to the latter set of expectations. ful central staircase as its focal point,” he said. “The concepts for all of our events are conceived Because Redmoon performers were scheduled in Paris, from the Hermès events team there,” said to present a brief customized opera for guests, Bernice Kwok-Gabel, the New York-based “you need sound,” Valenti said. “So in the back of U.S. director of public relations for the French my mind, I was thinking ‘How on earth do I make luxury brand. speakers look good?’ I didn’t want to run cables Founded by a couple of brothers, Hermès or do anything that would muddle up that stairbegan in 1837 as a purveyor of saddles and harcase.” Ultimately, Valenti and Sound Investment nesses. “Everything that we do as a company employed a wireless speaker system. reflects our equestrian history and the fact that To further avoid congestion on the store’s we’re hands-on craftsmen,” said Kwok-Gabel. focal point, staffers stuck to one level. “There Indeed, the event was infused with strict attenwere upwards of 100 catering staffers,” Valenti tion to detail, starting with the costumes for the said, “and we treated the event as if it were two horse-head-wearing stilt-walkers different parties: one on the first Hermès Chicago Store who flanked the store’s entrance. floor and one on the second floor. Opening The performers wore Hermès suits We didn’t want to have waiters flown in from New York and custom Catering Calihan Catering, going up and down that beautiful Olivier Cheng Catering fitted by on-site seamstresses. staircase.” and Events Steven Valenti, owner of All The opening drew around 700 Entertainment Redmoon Things Party, provided on-theguests and “couldn’t have been Theater Event Management Skirt ground assistance for the New York more graciously received,” KwokPR and Parisian teams. “The creative Gabel said. “Usually, when it’s a PR The Experiential Agency concept absolutely came out of fashion event, people always have Chicago, XA Paris,” he confirmed. “My job was to something to say. But this time, Production All Things Party implement their vision. So, for me, it Sound Sound Investment we’ve received nothing but thankLtd. came down to questions like, how you notes. I’m sorry, but I find that Valet AF Parking do you get straw bales delivered to very unprecedented.” —Jenny Berg

New-York-based caterer Olivier Cheng prepared a buffet of French desserts atop All Thing Party’s custom bar.

Olivier Cheng also provided savory hors d’oeuvres such as foie-gras-pistachio truffles. Young equestrians assisted with the ribbon-cutting ceremony that kicked off the event, and then stuck around for dessert.

36 july/august 2010


Horse Sense

en different cocktails offered by Patrón, a sponsor along with AT&T, Dior Watches, Bermuda, and Egypt. Conde Nast Traveler took its Hot DJ Jesse Marco spun List party—and its sponsors— as a huge video from New York to Las Vegas. screen displayed images from the year, Conde Nast Traveler’s magazine and of LAS VEGAS This Hot List party provided a road to Aria. Vignettes of a destination well traveled: For the first time, the Bermuda and Egypt annual event left New York for Las Vegas. With the brought these destiGavin Rossdale Aria Resort & Casino featured on the 2010 list, vice nations to life: a wall performed. president and publisher Chris Mitchell and editor of real flowers found in chief Klara Glowczewska hosted the party at on the island and a putting green signified the the hotel’s new nightclub, Haze. A crowd of more former, while a tented hookah lounge reprethan 800 people attended the event, among them sented the latter. advertisers, celebrities, and travel industry types. “It was a big deal taking the event out A 40-foot LED screen leading up to the venue of New York,” said Traveler brand developand a red carpet populated by Gavin Rossdale ment director Alicia Barone. “It required a (who performed an acoustic set later lot of planning. We started Conde Nast Traveler in the evening) and Gwen Stefani, conversations around late Hot List Party Kate Beckinsale, Chris Evans, and November and flew out for others set the scene. As they entered DJ DJ Jesse Marco three site visits. But thanks to Decor, Lighting, Models, Haze, guests received a passport Aria’s excellent staff and the PR, Sound, Staging MGM to be stamped at five international fact that we were able to use Mirage Events stations by models dressed in each MGM’s production company, PR, Red Carpet Fingerprint Communications country’s garb. There was a prize to there were very few chalSecurity Aria Resort & be won at each, with the ultimate lenges. It was a group effort on Casino win a $15,000 trip to Thailand. all fronts, most of the time by Servers, Venue Haze Inside, guests toasted half a dozphone.” —Bobbie Katz


Cross Country

Guests got passports stamped at various stations around the party space.

Our room really has a view At 1,000 feet, our event venue is an all time high! Sip on cocktails with 20 – 600 of your closest friends, enjoy a seated dinner or immerse yourself in 360° views, with a complimentary multimedia SkyTour. Call us for a cozy private event space, or book the entire Observatory...and take over.

Andrew Apa Marketing & Events Coordinator P: 312.654.5021 F: 312.751.3675 E: W: 360° Views of 4 States

Open-Air Skywalk

Free Multimedia Tour

Espression by Lavazza café

Complimentary Concierge

As such, Heffernan Morgan handled the evening’s decor, providing everything from illuminated pink bars to flower-flecked sweetheart tables that surroundThe CS Brides’ Showcase lured readers ed the runway. The company also with champagne and a Vera Wang show. decorated tables for a room that showcased tabletop trends, and designed bridal bouquets for a “See? This is why I chose you to be CHICAGO my bridesmaids,” a guest gushed display area near the champagne bar. Frost designed the lighting, to friends on March 25 at CS Brides’ “Evening of which included pink rose-shaped Bridal Luxury.” The 450-guest crowd was heavy gobos that covered the ceiling of on groups of girlfriends, mother-daughter duos, Heffernan Morgan designer Nikki Lee created three tabletop and well-known brides-to-be such as Bachelorette the entrance. Fig produced a short arrangements for a room that showcased design trends. fashion film that aired in the star Jillian Harris. In addition to plenty of female ballroom before the runway show, bonding, the event at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and designed a custom logo and photo reel that Young models showcased included food stations slinging everything from showcased each of the evening’s sponsors. flower girl dresses from savory crepes to chocolate-filled cupcakes and a “As to not exclude any partner of ours, we Vera Wang Chicago. fully produced fashion show that highlighted the also provide each of our advertisers with the Vera Wang 2010 bridal collection. opportunity to contribute to our Samantha Saifer, director of marOscar-style swag bags from Baketing at parent company Modern CS Brides’ Evening of gable Gifts,” and co-sponsored by Luxury Media, oversaw planning efBridal Luxury Elizabeth Grace, Saifer said. Guests forts with publisher Amy Allen. “The Audiovisual Production, left with loots of everything from purpose of our signature events for DJ, Photography, Video beauty products to discount cards bridal, and our signature events for all Fig Media Catering, Linens, Venue and sweets, but the parting gift of our magazines, is to help provide Ritz-Carlton Chicago was not for everyone. “The guests our partners an extra added-value Decor, Flowers, Linens, that attend and who are not getopportunity to reach out to our CS Signage, Staging ting married always seem to want readers,” Saifer said. “For this event, Heffernan Morgan Inc. Gifts Bagable Gifts, a gift bag,” Saifer said. “We have to we involve some of our biggest and Elizabeth Grace tell them the bags are for brides most well-known partners by includLighting, Runway Frost every year.” —Jenny Berg ing them in the actual production.”


Wedding Day

House Race The White House Correspondents’ after-parties competed with A-listers and self-serve s’mores. The competition for guests leaving the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at the Hilton Washington on May 1—Washington’s biggest annual party night—saw a new contestant. MSNBC challenged the two major players of recent years, the Bloomberg/Vanity Fair party and the bash thrown by Niche Media’s Capitol File, with a large, lavish event that offered a big spread of comfort food and the evening’s only musical performance. All three used their distinct charms to lure black-tie guests from the political, media, and entertainment folks in town: intimate exclusivity (Bloomberg/Vanity Fair), raucous fun (Capitol File), and curiosity about the newcomer (MSNBC). Bloomberg’s longtime party presence and Vanity Fair’s star power retained their event’s status as the evening’s toughest ticket. A-list political figures like White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel mingled with Hollywood heavyweights like Morgan Freeman in the sprawling residence of the French ambassador. The Vanity Fair team lit the trees on the grounds in green, blue, and orange, and put out pillows printed with humorous political quotes. Meanwhile, MSNBC made its own big statement with roving Bloomberg/Vanity spotlights and a tented table for 20 Fair White House check-in staffers at the entrance to Correspondents’ the Mellon Auditorium. Four bars Association Dinner flanked a checkerboard dance floor, After-Party while Rachel Maddow manned Catering Design Cuisine another bar named for her. At the Caterers other end of the vast room, KC and MSNBC Party the Sunshine Band took the stage. Producer Phillip Dufour and Eric Catering Occasions Caterers Michaels from Occasions Caterers Decor A Vista Events made sure there was plenty of Flowers Jack H. Lucky Floral homey food circulating the party. Design Capitol File’s fifth annual afterLighting Atmosphere Lighting party doubled as an 85th anniverProduction Dufour & Co sary celebration for the Renaissance Rentals Perfect Settings Mayflower Hotel, which underwrote L.L.C. the festivities and brought in New Security The Bilyeu Group LLC York-based Tony Berger of Relevent to Transportation Carey produce. On the hotel’s first floor, a Limousine tiny lounge allowed guests to check Valet Atlantic Services out R Life, the hotel brand’s blog, and Group Venue Andrew W. Mellon tables were piled high with sweets Auditorium from Edward Marc Chocolatier. But the main action was in the Capitol File Party grand ballroom, where DJ Cassidy Catering, Security, Valet, spun an upbeat mix for an expected Venue Renaissance 1,600 people that had the likes Mayflower Hotel Decor, Production Relevent of Desirée Rogers—the recently Group LLC departed White House social secreDJ DJ Cassidy tary, and a co-host of the party last Lighting AG Light and year—dancing in the V.I.P. area on Sound Inc. the mezzanine. —Chad Kaydo

Rachel Maddow made three specialty cocktails at her own bar at the MSNBC party.

At MSNBC’s after-party, Occasions Caterers served a large array of casual food options, including selfserve s’mores.

Occasions served push-up ice cream pops from glowing trays.

At the Bloomberg/Vanity Fair party, guests including Anna Kendrick and Rosario Dawson lounged among political pillows. The Capitol File party took over the grand ballroom at the Renaissance Mayflower.

ON BIZBASH.COM More photos from the White House Correspondents Association dinner weekend events




Banners promoting MSNBC’s shows and personalities hung between columns inside the Mellon.

Lounge areas had white leather furniture, gray accent pillows, and simple flower arrangements in shiny black vases.

Nike turned a bank into a temporary speakeasy to celebrate its Chicago pop-up shop.

High-end sneaker boutique St. Alfred partnered with Nike in April to open Six Points. Cindy Hamilton, a Chicago-based spokesperson for Nike, described the Milwaukee Avenue venue as a “retail collaborative space” that would host events throughout the summer. On April 30, the brands celebrated the opening of the pop-up space with a cocktail party for 80 guests, tapping Experient to produce the intimate soiree. On the same day as the event, Hamilton said, “Nike had unveiled the home kits for several countries, including the United States, that will play in the World Cup this summer. So another At the end of the night, a dessert goal for the event was reception took place in the vault. to showcase those de-



Lock and Key

signs.” Because the company keeps the designs of the uniforms “under lock and key until they are launched,” Hamilton said, planners decided to “play off that secrecy and intrigue” by hosting a speakeasy-theme event in the vault of an abandoned bank. Mailed invitations included numbered safedeposit-box keys, which guests presented for admission to the bank. Models wearing 1920s-style makeup and hairdos posed as bank tellers, and presented some guests with locked silver metal briefcases. One by one, guests were escorted into the vault, where they used their keys to open safe deposit boxes. Inside, they found cards printed with access codes that would help them unlock their suitcases, which each held custom jerseys. While they waited for their turn in the vault, partygoers lounged in a basement room that Event Creative decked Nike’s Six Points with mirrored tables, Speakeasy crystal chandeliers, Audiovisual Production, and lounge areas Decor, Draping, Flowers, filled with white Furniture Rentals, leather furniture. At Lighting, Sound Event the end of the night, Creative the vault reopened for Catering Blue Plate DJ Flosstradamus a dessert reception Photography Stephen where Blue Plate servGreen Photography ers circulated with Design, Event Management, Invitations, mini lemon meringue Models, Printing, pies and chocolate Production, Signage, molten cake bites. Staffing, Experient LLC —Jenny Berg

EXPO & AWARDS Chicago / Merchandise Mart / August 19, 2010

Register Now

Your Event Canvas Is Always Changing From the long-time curators of the innovative and outrageous, you’re invited to attend the BizBash Expo with an open mind— and open canvas. With the ideal environment for networking, dynamic education sessions, keynotes from the best in the business, and a fully loaded show floor, you’ll walk away fired up and ready to create incredible events in the coming year.


Steve Beck

Casey Cooper

Erin McDonald

Chad Kaydo

Amanda Puck

Robert Sivek







This Must-Attend Expo Is Unlike Any Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve Ever Experienced Who should attend the BizBash Expo? Event and meeting professionals, corporate planners, PR and marketing professionals, and third-party planners ready to gather, learn, and network in one spectacular day.

2010 BIZBASH HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES The BizBash Hall of Fame celebrates professionals who have made major contributions to the events industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growth through their vision and leadership.

What sets BizBash Expo apart from the rest? BizBash Expo is a unique opportunity for planners to be inspired by a show ďŹ&#x201A;oor loaded with fresh local ideas and the hottest products, incredible entertainment, education from expert speakers on how to navigate challenges and excel, and to connect with more than 1,000 Midwest planners.

Susan Katz

Lee Kite

Redmoon Theater






These ďŹ ve invaluable sessions give you access to expert leaders in the event and meeting planning industry who will show you innovative ways to plan and execute stylish and successful events. To register for the conference program and view the full Expo schedule, visit

Come applaud the Event Style Award winners for 2010!

Getting Ahead in Business: Straight Talk from Top Female Executives

9:15 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 10 A.M.

8:15 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9 A.M.

Female business executives share whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needed to make it in the business. Hear the presenters discuss how to deďŹ ne strategy, manage conďŹ&#x201A;ict, and handle difďŹ cult situations to put you on the career path to success.

Demystifying RFIs, RFPs, and the Proposal to Win Business Hear from a panel of experts as they uncover the mysteries behind great proposal writing. Learn how to decipher proposals to avoid surprises down the road. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll leave this session with greater conďŹ dence to tackle your next RFI, RFP, or proposal.

Are You Ready for The New Globally Accepted Meeting and Event Standards? Explore the competencies, knowledge, and skills used to deďŹ ne a meeting and event professional from beginner to expert, plus get a sneak peak at the new AP EX Green Standards and the International Event Management Standards.

Find out who will take home the coveted awards this year.

Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Let This Happen to You: War Stories From Event Veterans

Main Stage, 5 P.M. to 5:45 P.M. Cocktail reception following the Event Style Awards in the registration lobby.

Hear unbelievable real stories from the front lines about event disasters and how they were averted in the ďŹ eld. Learn from their experiences.

Catering Trends: A Comprehensive View of Current Trends in the Event Industry This session will cover everything about the latest catering trends, including menu design, creative themes, service, beverages, and adding those special touches that are even more important in the current economy.

* All sessions and speakers subject to change. Expo Sponsors as of 7.19.10


EXCITING ENTERTAINMENT Q Quick Change is just one of sseveral acts who will excite w a and enthrall a all day, with ttheir incredible performance of split second costume changes that landed them a spot as ďŹ nalist on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Got Talent.â&#x20AC;? To view the full Expo schedule and register, visit


rockit ranch productions elevate your entertaining Four stylized venues. Inventine, savory cuisine. Impressive entertainment. Call to learn about our restaurants and nightclub for your next private and non-private events for 20-500 guests.



20 to 500 guests

CONFERENCE TABLE Up to 20 guests

ENTIRE VENUE Up to 250 guests

ENTIRE LOUNGE Up to 300 guests FRONT & SIDE LOUNGE Up to 100 guests POOL LOUNGE Up to 50 guests HALF POOL LOUNGE Up to 25 guests WRIGLEYVILLE

MAP AREA Up to 40 guests

BANQUET STYLE 21 to 100 guests RECEPTION 25 to 150 guests DINING ROOM VERANDA Up to 28 guests COMMUNAL TABLES 14 to 28 guests

SERVICES In-house Catering Buffet Lunch and Dinner Themed Stations Passed Cuisine Mixology Entertainment Photo Booth Live Music Karaoke

20 to 200 guests

Catering Office: 312.943.7600 or visit Rockit Bar & Grill | River North | 22 W. Hubbard | 312.645.6000 | Wrigleyville | 3700 N. Clark | 773.645.4400 Sunda | 110 W. Illinois | 312.644.0500 Underground | 56 W. Illinois |312.943.7600


Happier Holidays


Combining elements of Christmas and Hanukkah, Toronto’s Regent Park School of Music staged a Chrismukkah benefit with a modern winter look. McNabb Roick (416.703.1000, hung oversize snowflakes, stars, and icicles while Westbury National Show Systems (416.752.1371, lit the room in shades of blue and purple.

End-of-the-year gatherings haven’t been a top priority over the past few years, but they are still an important way to show appreciation. Here are ideas from real holiday parties and the people who plan them. By LISA CERICOLA

Hargrove Inc. (301.306.9000, transformed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s H Street headquarters into a rustic ski lodge complete with a 20- by 30-foot faux stone fireplace, a lifelike stuffed moose head, six-foot-tall wooden reindeer, and a massive Christmas tree.


Large-scale projections brought a winter setting to sunny Los Angeles for DirecTV’s annual holiday party. Firefly LA (323.571.1447, and the Hand Company (818.843.2402, projected snow-covered forests, icicles, and other scenes onto a 120- by 140-foot tent on DirecTV’s campus.

New York-based Internet company IAC hired Frank Alexander (212.677.5176, to capture the Viceroy Santa Monica’s sophisticated cabanas with green and white rentals from Taylor Creative Inc. (888.245.4044, taylorcreativeinc. com) and colorful, arty lighting by Glow Design Group (646.201.9557,

“When decorating a conference room, make the table the central focus by creating a runner installation. Use white plush fabric adorned with white and silver ornaments. Incorporate height by propping white feather mini trees on either side of the table, which can be adorned with a touch of red. If the office has glass windows, you can create a bigger statement by designing holiday graphics that frame your table-runner installation.” Shai Tertner, president, Shiraz Events, New York and Miami (212.255.7001, summer 2010 45

Employees of Astellas Pharma U.S. Inc. teamed up with Total Event Resources (847.397.2200, to celebrate the season by building 48 bicycles for children from Chicago Youth Centers, a local nonprofit organization. About 40 kids showed up at the end of the event to surprise the company’s staffers, who then surprised them with their new bikes.

Activities Instead of a single evening of festivities, Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Carlson Companies held 12 days of events. Activities included an employee-cooked progressive meal that took place over several floors and an office-wide scavenger hunt with clues via e-mail throughout the day. Prizes included an iPod Touch, a Sleep Number bed, and box seats at a Bon Jovi concert.

Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker family dinner in Chicago had kid-friendly touches including apple cider and Sprite cocktails, strolling magicians, and an activity station with a branded Lego tower provided by “brick artist” Beth Weis (847.494.5346,


“We hired My Party Impressions (416.963.8302, to provide a flip book station, which was a huge hit at the event. The guests had a blast creating their own unique scenes, and it was a great take-home for them as well.”



“Last year we were on a tight budget, so we hired Precision Event Group (310.285.0420, to turn one of our parking lots into a dance club complete with DJ—who was spinning from above the crowd on an industrial staircase—and, of course, a disco ball. Our employees loved it.” Pam Byrne, executive director, studio services, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Los Angeles

46 summer 2010

At a holiday-themed event to celebrate the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Event Architects (888.365.4511, event-architects. com) brought in a pair of professional ice skaters who performed on an elevated skating rink.

The South Floridabased Office Depot Foundation held a holiday party with a tropical theme. Boca By Design (561.447.3349, bocabydesign. com) brought in live flamingos, parrots, and other creatures from Rainforest Aviaries and Gardens (305.246.5930) and Jesse Williams Ranch (305.238.5437, for photo ops and atmosphere.


Laura Bryce, account executive, High Road Communications, Toronto


At a holiday party hosted by Style Boston and Boston Magazine, the Catered Affair (781.982.9333, served tuna tartare with wasabi aioli on a tray accented with wheatgrass and peppers—traditional Christmas colors on unexpected objects.

Food & Drinks STEAL TH IS I DEA

Online magazine UrbanDaddy held a holiday party for its New York readers with a dessert bar piled high with macaroons, cakes, and other sweets from several local bakeries.

STEAL TH IS I D EA “It’s back to basics: comfort food with an air of sophistication for our clients this year. Gourmet grilled cheese is in high demand. We serve spicy Genoa salami and aged cheddar with tomato and green apple and Brie with crushed walnuts and watercress.” Sebastien Centner, director, Eatertainment Special Events and Catering, Toronto (416.964.1162, Match Restaurant (905.850.5699, matchyyz. com) created a menu inspired by fairy tales and 1960s op art, the theme of Torontobased marketing agency Capital C’s party. Psychedelic trays held chicken dipped in gooseberry-plum sauce.

At the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s holidaythemed World of Chocolate event, guests sipped vanilla- and cinnamon-spiced hot chocolate from mini pipettes by the Signature Room at the 95th (312.787.9596,

“It’s the return of the specialty cocktail. We don’t foresee clients returning to the luxury bar packages, but rather sticking with beer, wine, and soda, with a specialty drink added for creativity and variety.” Loren Johnson, sales consultant, Blue Plate Catering, Chicago (312.421.6666,

Capital C’s event also had seasonal cocktails like Santa’s Beard (white chocolate liqueur, half and half, a hint of peppermint, and crushed candy canes).

Blue Plate’s Red Sombrero incorporates tequila, Sprite, pink grapefruit juice, kumquats, and pomegranate seeds. summer 2010 47


The New Reality These days event strategists are facing an evolving set of expectations, from tighter budgets to an increased respect for the power of face-to-face gatherings. To gauge the ramifications of the changes, we surveyed a group of BizBash readers—including in-house and independent planners—about how they’re working through these challenging times. Here’s a look at their responses.

RESPONDENT PROFILE (In-house planners)


Tenure Less than one year 0.2% More than 20 years 14.6%

Events and Meetings 68.4%

Finance/Procurement 0.5% Human Resources/Training 1% Owner 1%

11-20 years 29.4%

1-5 years 27.5%

Administrative 6.1%

6-10 years 28.2%

Marketing/ PR/Sales 15.6%

Other 7.5%

Events/Meetings Planned Per Year

Annual Budget

More than 200 3.6% $50,000 $100,000 12.6%

51-200 15.3%

21-50 21.4%

Fewer than 6 20.4%

6-20 39.2%

Less than $50,000 8.5%

$100,001 $250,000 15.3%

More than $1,000,000 31.1%

$250,0001 $500,000 16.0% $500,001 $1,000,000 16.5%

Methodology: The survey of BizBash subscribers was conducted online in conjunction with Finch Brands, from March 15 to March 26, 2010. Of the 843 respondents who completed the survey, 48.9 percent were in-house event/meeting planners, 28.1 percent were event/meeting planners at independent firms, and 23 percent were event vendors. summer 2010 49

THE NEW REALITY Budgets Are the Big Challenge Staff layoffs and departmental changes 14.1%

What’s the most difficult part of your job today?

Greater financial scrutiny 13.6%

Shorter lead times 11.4%

Shrinking budgets 36.0%

(In-house planners) Less organizational support 8.5% Greater process complexity 5.1%

Staying on top of the industry 7.3%

Budgets Are Down, Pressure Is Up To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about event planning today as compared to two years ago? (All planners) 5=Strongly agree, 0= Strongly disagree




3.92 3.54




t re ed to as ic cu rce lcu ssu ish ca y ult ou en g h ateg e n c s r i e e n t l fi i p b b te str dif ees w ou ever nn re dim to a ve as ha ds ccur mo ults t pla more ore tend h e no an s s t i e m s n a e e is ct at We re th im ere w re Eve ome O.I . n ore t dg t I h u a c r T sho B R. ed m Lead mo be att to lat

Events Are Expected to Drive Business 

How are events used as a part of your organization’s overall marketing strategy? (In-house planners)










o t ke nd gt nts lly y ou ve na ma tive nin ips ica eg ab e i o i o l s s a c t t r yp strat h t a i e t u r l s e s s n s i s e t a d t o s u ion ion nt no ing e u sale even e pro ati te cq t e lat tiv ula l r r a erat cat late are rket a o e o en fy re u i s n l n a d t m M sti m e u C idi e er s m m en l sto d g to tim Int rker Ev rt of to so Cu man ng to s o i a n w p i ts de Tra duc pro

50 summer 2010

THE VENDOR SELECTION PROCESS Planners Re-evaluate Vendors Regularly… 

How often do you re-evaluate the following types of vendors each time you plan an event? (All planners)

68.7% 68.2% 68.1%

63.4% 63.4% 62.5%

59.4% 59.2%




e nu Ve

r g g nt nt ns on ng co ing tin ffin tio cti hti me me De a ter a u e g l / n t a i i Ten d g e S n L C a o a R g t r n c P si ter bli al De Ma En Pu isu nt v e o Ev di Au

…But Not Formally 76%-100%

What percentage of the time do you issue R.F.P.s to vendors for events with more than 100 attendees?







(All planners) 26%-50%

Planners Consider Many Factors 

How important are the following factors when selecting vendors for your events and meetings? (In-house planners) 5=Very important, 0= Not important at all










3.83 3.14


st es nt ed lty on ers list ors ces ion Co cti fer me venu nn nd pecia servi nt f tat e e e a e o u l i p v f p s n cl ag ns rp er of or n o lutio l re man r’s ei pe the oth end tio do sit o o era o f a l c n h s n o c V t s ca Ve of Lo ge se rom ll wi nd ysi Ea r’s ity kf ea Ph we g do ac tiv a b n n k a d or Ve Cre dr Fee to w oa r y B ilit Ab summer 2010 51


The Chicago Venue Report In the past year, new venues have opened throughout the city and suburbs, providing a variety of fresh spots in which to meet, lounge, or—should your guests need some pampering—get a massage. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant that can host Japanese dinners for 25 or a raw venue with a 1,000-guest capacity, this guide gives the lowdown on venues to consider for your next event. By JENNY BERG

OPULENT OFFERINGS About a 10-minute cab ride from the Loop, the Elysian opened in the Gold Coast in December. The luxury hotel has two restaurants, Balsan and Ria, each with its own private dining room. Additional function spaces include the Sinclair Ballroom, which can host receptions for 270; the Fitzgerald Boardroom, which can accommodate meetings for 12; and the Hemingway Salon, which can hold receptions for 100 or meetings for 36. The property also houses 188 guest rooms and a 14,000-squarefoot health club and spa. (11 East Walton St., 312.646.1300)

ON BIZBASH.COM The latest venue news, plus our comprehensive directory summer 2010 53

The Chicago Venue Report


JUST FOR SHOW Near major expo centers, these new venues are ideally located for off-site events and afterparties. Here’s where to host …

800. Amenities will include a parking lot, a new kitchen, and elevators with built-in bars. Taste America will be the exclusive beverage provider, and can arrange for catering from Lettuce Entertain You restaurants such as Tru and Ben Pao. Hosts are also welcome to bring in vendors of their choosing. (1200 West 35th St., 312.644.0606)

An Art Show for 50 Less than three miles from McCormick Place, Three Peas Art Lounge opened in the South Loop last April. The venue houses a café, a lounge, and a 1,100-square-foot art gallery that can host receptions for 50. Rental fees include a bartending staff, and hosts can select caterers from a preferred list that includes Stefani and Michael’s. (75 East 16th St., 312.624.9414)

Dinner for 800 Slated to open in October, the Bridgeport Arts Gallery is a 10-minute car ride from McCormick Place. The 18,000-squarefoot space will host seated dinners for more than

An Intimate Cocktail Party Across the street from the Merchandise Mart, American restaurant Gilt Bar opened in February and unveiled its lower-level cocktail lounge in May. Decked with candles, antique mirrors, and tufted leather sofas, the underground space can host private events for 50. The drink list offers throwback options like punch bowls and Hemingway daiquiris. (230 West Kinzie St., 312.464.9544) A PowerPoint Presentation A fiveminute walk from the Merchandise Mart, Epic

Gilt Bar opened in December. In a former mill building, the contemporary American restaurant has several areas that can host events, including a mezzanine with seating for 50 and a 58-inch TV that can hook up to laptops or DVD players. Also available for buyout, the sprawling venue can host cocktail receptions for 600. (112 West Hubbard St., 312.222.4940)

Two new spaces are easily brand-able and can be built out to meet an event’s specs. Local production company Event Creative owns Venue One (1044 West Randolph St., 312.327.0111) in the West Loop. The event space hosted its first function—a benefit for the Museum of Contemporary Art—in May. With views of the downtown skyline, the venue has three levels, each with 12,000 square feet of raw space. The second floor can seat 500 with a dance floor and a stage, and the first floor can seat 400 with a similar layout. The entire venue can be bought out to host receptions for 1,000. Preferred caterers include Limelight, while Event Creative handles production and decor. Last September, special event space Logan Square Kitchen (2333 North Milwaukee Ave.,

54 summer 2010

Logan Square Kitchen 773.342.2333) opened in a 1913 building in its eponymous neighborhood. The LEED-certified space features exposed brick walls and eggplanthued drapes. A shared-use commercial kitchen, stocked restaurant-style appliances, and a walk-in cooler allow chefs to cook on site. The venue can host dinners for 75 and receptions for 100.

Venue One


Signature Touch

Double A


Nella Pizzeria Napoletana

Izakaya Hapa

Hot Plates Chicago attracts international foodies all year long, and these six restaurants are on top of the city’s latest culinary trends. Gourmet Pizza With the tagline “serious brick-oven pizza,” Pizzeria Serio (1708 West Belmont Ave., 773.525.0600) came to Lakeview in late April. An 800-degree oven cooks up specialty pies, which come with toppings like fresh mozzarella and sopressata salami. Exposed brick walls, lofty ceilings, and metal ductwork lend a laidback vibe to the space, which seats 125. Upstairs, a private party room can host dinners or receptions for 50. Lincoln Park’s Nella Pizzeria Napoletana (2423 North Clark St., 773.327.3400) opened in November. A 12,000-pound oven—built with volcanic bricks that the owners had imported from Mount Vesuvius—churns out authentic Neapolitan pizzas. A glass-enclosed party room

The Exchange can be configured to seat groups of 24 or 36, and the chef also prepares family-style pastas and antipasti dishes.

with ingredients that include egg whites and torched thyme. Bottle service comes with an unusual roster of mixers such as strawberries and vanilla sugar.

Handcrafted Cocktails Cozy cocktail lounge the Exchange (1270 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.342.5282) sprang up in Wicker Park in late January. Outfitted with patterned wallpaper, banquette seating, and hanging light fixtures, the space is available for full buyout and can host receptions for 99. Craft cocktails like orange bitters punch come in vintage crystal bowls and serve four to six guests. Other options include the “Swimming in It,” a blend of gin, chamomile tea, honey syrup, sparkling wine, and lemon and tangerine juices. On the lower level of River North’s Mercadito restaurant, Double A (108 West Kinzie St., 312.329.9555) opened in November. With dark wood paneling, a DJ booth, and brown leather banquettes, the intimate lounge can host receptions for 60. Mixologists work at an exposed cocktail station, whipping up specialty drinks

Izakayas (Japanese Pubs) Offering Japanese small plates and an extensive cocktail list, Izakaya Hapa (58 East Ontario St., 312.202.0808) opened just off the Magnificent Mile in late January. Furbished with unfinished barn wood and oversize photos of Asian street markets, the second-floor lounge seats 20 to 35 in its private dining area. Amenities include Wi-Fi and 42-inch TVs. Chizakaya (3056 North Lincoln Ave., 773.477.6400) was slated to open in Lakeview in July. Chef and owner Harold Jurado, formerly of Japonais and Charlie Trotter’s, prepares small plates with local ingredients, such as his sashimi made with Dietzler Farms calf’s liver. The venue features an exposed kitchen, blond wood tables, and murals of geishas and cherry-blossom trees. A private back room holds 25.

RESTAURANTS summer 2010 55

The Chicago Venue Report Benny’s Chop House

Gold Class Cinemas

Small Bar

These venues can screen videos, broadcast PowerPoint presentations, or host live performances.

The venue’s eight 40-seat theaters can be rented individually or combined to host larger groups. Within each theater, hosts can present current feature films or corporate videos. Servers deliver restaurant-style entrées to recliners with built-in tabletops and can also provide passed appetizers In June, Mayne Stage (1328 West Morse Ave., and bottles of wine and champagne. The entire 773.381.4554) opened in the site of a former structure is available for buyout and can hold 288. vaudeville theater in Rogers Park. Available for A Lincoln Park location of Small Bar (1415 buyout, the venue has a 299-seat auditorium West Fullerton Ave., 773.525.2727) opened in with cinema and broadcasting capabilities. For private events, an on-site talent booker can bring February. In a former pool hall, the venue has in comedians, musicians, or psychics. An adjacent an upper-level room that seats 35 and can host receptions for 50. Referred to as “the Mezz,” the eatery, the Act One Café, serves internationally space holds two 44-inch TVs that hook up to influenced comfort food, and can seat 80 for laptops and DVD players. The menu offers hearty private dinners. Gold Class Cinemas (619 East Boughton Road, bar fare such as pulled-pork and cheeseburgers with brie, and the bar pours more than 100 kinds Bolingbrook, 630.378.8034) opened a new location at the Promenade Bolingbrook in November. of beer.

Take it Outside

as a breakfast-and-lunch spot. In June, the organic restaurant added a 40-seat sidewalk Alfresco venues aren’t just for summer. Here are café that can be booked for private events. Seasonal menu options may include jumbo three spaces to check out. lump crab salad, homemade falafel wraps, and buckwheat crepes stuffed with veggies and Early this year, the Dana Hotel introduced preserved lemon cream. its Ice Bar, which will now be open every Perched on the rooftop of River North’s year from January until early March. On the Epic hotel, Epic Sky (112 West Hubbard St., patio of Vertigo Lounge (660 North State St., 312.202.6060), Ice Bar has a 10-foot bar made of 312.222.4940) opened in May. Outfitted with cabanas, a 28-foot bar, and lounge seating, 3,000 pounds of solid ice, and can host recepthe space seats 93 and can be rented out for tions for 75. Along with a crystal-filled fire pit private events. A specialty cocktail list includes and numerous heat lamps, velour robes and the White Rabbit, made with orange vodka faux fur blankets are on hand to keep guests and carrot juice, and a special menu of lounge warm. Spiked snow cones, hot specialty cocksnacks is in the works. In the meantime, hosts tails, and sushi are all on the menu. can order passed hors d’oeuvres or plated Near Cellular Field, Nana (3267 South Halsted St., 312.929.2486) opened last summer meals off the restaurant’s standard menus.

56 summer 2010

Two new steak houses are providing classic settings for business dinners (or two-martini lunches). Benny’s Chop House (444 North Wabash Ave., 312.626.2444) opened in River North in April. The restaurant dishes out U.S.D.A. prime steaks, oysters, and pasta. A former Alinea sommelier presides over the 450-bottle wine list, and a rolling champagne cart allows for tableside drink service. A front bar area can host receptions for 100, and the main dining room seats 180. In back, a private dining room with wireless Internet and a flat-screen TV can seat 40 to 50. Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse (2150 Spring Road, Oakbrook, 630.954.0000) opened an Oakbrook location in June. The restaurant, which serves steaks, daily seafood specials, and oversize martinis, has a patio that seats 180. Decked with fire pits and waterfalls, the space can be booked for private functions. Inside, a large private dining room seats 100 and can host receptions for 175. The room has four 50-inch flat-screen TVs, which can be used for PowerPoint presentations.





Hotel Palomar Chicago

Drop Inn


The downtown business district is now home to two hotels with ample space for meetings. Hotel Palomar Chicago (505 North State St., 312.755.9703) opened in River North in March. The boutique hotel houses 261 rooms, each equipped with free high-speed Internet access. Some 5,800 square feet of event space includes a 2,555-square-foot ballroom, and the hotel can host meetings for 160 or receptions for 300. For overnight guests, perks include an enclosed rooftop pool and in-room spa services. In September, Chicago’s first JW Marriott (151 West Adams St., 312.660.8200) will open inside a DanielBurnham-designed bank building in the Loop. The venue will offer 609 guest rooms, a 20,000-square-foot spa, and a fine dining restaurant. Some 44,000 square feet of event space will include two ballrooms and more than 30 breakout rooms. Green meeting packages will be available.


Cedar Hotel

Night Shift Here’s a look at four new party spots, each offering a distinct theme.

A CONVENTION CENTER UPGRADE In April, the Tinley Park Convention Center broke ground on a $19 million renovation that will double its current size by May 2011. The overhaul will add 24,000 square feet of clearspan exhibit space and 9,000 square feet of meeting space. New amenities will include a built-in concession stand, Wi-Fi, additional loading docks, a full-service business center, and an additional 450 parking spots. (18500 South Harlem Ave., 708.444.1100)

Cuvee (308 West Erie St., 847.691.3947), a 5,000square-foot lounge in River North, opened in late September. With bubble-inspired decor, the champagne-themed venue can be bought out for groups of 400, and there are semiprivate areas available for smaller groups. A variety of champagne cocktails are available, and on-site event planners can arrange for catering through Jordan’s Food of Distinction. Hosts are also welcome to bring in their own suppliers. From the owners of Manor and RiNo, the Cedar Hotel (1112 North State St., 312.944.1112) nightclub opened on the Gold Coast last August. With an American menu that offers lobster-salad sliders, salmon burgers, and skirt-steak skewers, the bar has a drink list filled with thematic cock-

Temple Bar

tails such as the Secret Rendezvous sangria and the Chamber Maid’s Cherry Limeaid. A patio filled with wicker furniture hosts receptions for 150, while the venue’s cedar-lined interior holds 99. Named after a neighborhood in Dublin, Temple Bar (3001 North Ashland Ave., 312.265.1133) opened in April. With an 18-foot bar, eight plasma TVs, and black-and-white photographs of British rockers, the pub is available for buyout and can host events for 120. Smaller sections can also be reserved. A menu of Irish fare includes chicken curry, Guinness beef stew, and fish and chips. Flights of whiskey headline the drink list. Beauty Bar (1444 West Chicago Ave., 312.226.8828), a cocktail lounge with a 1960sbeauty-parlor look, opened its first Chicago location in March. Offering manicures and specialty martinis, the venue uses Logan Square’s Longman & Eagle restaurant as a preferred caterer. The West Town nightspot is available for full and partial buyout and has a total capacity of 350.

BARS & CLUBS summer 2010 57

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Although economic turbulence has tempered the intended ďŹ&#x201A;urry of venue openings and renovations in New York this year, it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bring the city to a halt. In fact, some of the bigger projectsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;two new baseball stadiums, the park on the High Line, and Lincoln Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s massive overhaulâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;debuted in 2009, while chefs spawned more casual eateries to match the change in diner preferences . However, the biggest change will come in 2010, when the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only convention center unveils an expansion and renovates its existing space. By ANNA SEKULA

ON BIZBASH.COM/NEWYORK The latest venue news, reports from recent events, and a comprehensive directory of local suppliers and venues

2010 bizbash national venue

guide 151

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Chicago Venue Directory Activity Venues p. 60 Arcades & Virtual-Reality Centers Bowling Alleys Cooking Schools & Tasting Venues Dance Class Venues Golf Clubs Pool & Billiard Halls Sports Venues Wine-Tasting Spaces Other Activity Venues Bars, Lounges & Clubs p. 61 Bars & Lounges Clubs

Boats & Yachts p. 64 Conference & Convention Centers p. 65





One of 17 Brunswick Zone locations in Illinois, this entertainment center houses 40 bowling lanes, an arcade with 60 games, a 100-seat lounge with a bigscreen TV and a jukebox, and a 25-seat bar area with three billiard tables. A meeting room seats 150. (4700 West 103rd St., Oak Lawn, 708.425.0900)

This retail shop and kitchen offers beginner and advanced cake-decorating and candy-making classes. The retail area specializes in baking supplies, while the classroom kitchen features double ovens and counters where 10 can participate at once. Cakewalk can host receptions for 30. (1741 West 99th St., 773.233.7335)



More than 200 games and simulators can be found at this 60,000-square-foot Dave & Buster’s location. There are three banquet and meeting facilities, and American food is served in the restaurant and grand dining room. (1030 North Clark St., 312.943.5151)

This hands-on kitchen holds 24 at its 12 cooking stations and is equipped with 10 video monitors for a bird’s-eye view of the instructor. A reception space holds 40, the dining room seats 20 for meals or wine tastings, and a banquet/meeting room holds 100. (1000 West Washington Blvd., 312.529.0100)


Putting Edge has three locations in Illinois. The 14,000-square-foot Norridge outpost holds 330, with a 55-game arcade and a bilevel glow-in-the-dark mini golf course. A private meeting room holds 20, and two rooms can be combined to hold 60. (4105 North Harlem Ave., Norridge, 708.457.8377) VRMAGE

Entertainment & Performance Spaces p. 65 Comedy Clubs Music Clubs Screening Rooms Theaters & Performance Spaces

Guests can play shooter games on four virtual-reality machines at this 2,000-square-foot gaming center, which opened in 2008. VRmage, which holds 25 people, was designed to look like the inside of a computer, with walls and a ceiling that resemble a circuit board. Computers are also available for gaming and Internet use. (1242 North Milwaukee Ave., 312.265.6666)

Independent Event Spaces p. 69 Mansions & Homes p. 70 Museums & Cultural Spaces p. 70 Art Museums Art Spaces & Auction Houses Children’s Museum Historical & Cultural Institutions Science & Natural History Spaces

Outdoor Spaces p. 72 Private Clubs p. 72 Religious Spaces p. 72 Restaurants p. 73 Retail Venues p. 77 Spas p. 78 Stadiums & Arenas p. 78

ON BIZBASH.COM The latest news and our comprehensive online directory of Chicago event spaces

60 summer 2010

This cooking school has two locations in Chicago. The larger, 8,000-square-foot Chopping Block in the Merchandise Mart Plaza has three private kitchens that allow as many as 120 to cook at once. The Saffron Room seats 100. (The Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 107, 312.644.6360; 4747 North Lincoln Ave., 773.472.6700) COOKING FOOLS

This bilevel cooking school has 6,000 square feet of loft space. It offers stainless steel preparation tables, and 40 people at a time can participate on each floor. Tables can be arranged to customize an event, and private groups can enjoy seated dinners, buffets, or receptions. (1916 West North Ave., 773.276.9377) FLAVOUR COOKING SCHOOL


Hotels p. 67


This 25,000-square-foot bowling center includes a sports-themed restaurant, Kegler’s Pizzeria & Grill, which seats 150, and a 50-seat media room. Corporate logos can be projected in the rock-and-bowl-themed 36-lane alley, and corporate leagues can be arranged as well. (2211 West Diversey Pkwy., 773.227.5800)

Originally built as a bank in 1920, Flavour has a 20-foot ceiling, chandeliers, and original moldings and hosts eat-what-you-make and demonstration-style classes. The entire venue can host receptions of 75, or 20 can be accommodated in the back area. (7401 West Madison St., Forest Park, 708.488.0808)




Opened in 1956, this bowling alley has 16 lanes for as many as 120 people. Along with a cocktail lounge and a small arcade, Lawn Lanes offers disco light shows, leagues, and corporate packages and can accommodate blind bowlers. Food is available; catering cannot be brought in. (6750 South Pulaski Road, 773.582.2525)

At this dance center, a bright-blue studio holds 12 adults for dance classes and a pink studio holds 10. Instructors can teach a variety of styles. Groups can set up catering in one studio while the second is used for dance. (2214 North Clark St., 773.572.8701)


The Big City Swing studio is about 1,000 square feet and has a 15-foot ceiling, adjustable track lighting, a lounge with folding chairs for eight, and a DJ system. The studio can accommodate 75 dancers at a time. (1012 West Randolph St., 312.243.0700)

This bowling alley can host events for as many as 800. The 36,000-square-foot venue has 18 bowling lanes, 11 billiard tables, 22 plasma TVs, and 16 projectors. Three versatile private rooms can include as many as six bowling lanes and two billiard tables. There is also a location in Lombard. (322 East Illinois St., 312.245.8331) MONT CLARE LANES & BANQUETS

Besides 32 bowling lanes that can hold 200, this facility offers 12 arcade games and three 60-inch flat-screen TVs. Its 30,000-square-foot banquet hall has a stage, bar, and dance floor and can be split with an adjustable wall. (2957 North Harlem Ave., 773.237.5500)



This dance center offers five studios: Two are 1,550 square feet, two are 1,050 square feet, and the smallest is 625 square feet. The two largest studios hold 40 comfortably for dancing. The center has been open since 1974. (5965 North Clark St., 773.293.0900)




This venue has two old-school, manually reset bowling lanes. Young professionals fill up the booths in the dark wood bar at night. Southport also has six pool tables. Two private rooms hold 65 each. (3325 North Southport Ave., 773.472.6600)

This club features an 18-hole golf course and a 76,000-square-foot clubhouse with lounges, an exercise facility, two restaurants, and six banquet rooms. The Nest Bar & Grill seats 100 for casual dining, and the East Room seats 80 for fine dining from chef Brad Elston. (2001 Rodeo Drive, Bolingbrook, 630.771.9400)


Twenty-four lanes, eight high-definition video walls, and two lounges make up this 20,000-square-foot upscale bowling center. The Martini Lounge has plush couches for groups of 50, and the Cosmopolitan Lounge has booths and tables for 140. (330 North State St., 312.644.0300)




Open since 1965, this public bowling and billiard center is part of the University of Illinois at Chicago. There are 16 pool tables, 16 bowling lanes that can accommodate 80 bowlers at a time, and video and pinball arcade games. (750 South Halsted St., 312.413.5170)

Opened in 1904, this 18-hole course on 600 acres has a driving range, a putting green, and the Cecil A. Partee Clubhouse, which seats 75 in its single banquet room. A tent can be set up for seated affairs for 150. (6401 South Richards Drive, 773.667.0524)

Two 18-hole courses make up this golf center on 458 acres. Inside the 24,000-square-foot, Prairie-style clubhouse are locker rooms, a golf shop, and the Pier 37 Bar and Grill, which can be used as a banquet facility for 300. (11001 South Doty Ave. East, 312.782.7837)

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space


This 18-hole public golf course offers several spaces for events. The Terrace Room holds 50 and has floor-to-ceiling windows and a large balcony. The more private Fairway Room holds 85. Groups of 12 to 144 can be accommodated for golf outings. (1 Pete Dye Drive, Lemont, 630.257.1000) SYDNEY R. MAROVITZ GOLF COURSE5

This 3,240-yard nine-hole public course, named after a commissioner who served on the Park District Board from 1974 to 1986, is the closest course to downtown Chicago. A tent can be set up near the first tee to seat 150 for catered dinners. (3600 Recreation Drive, 312.742.7930) WATER’S EDGE GOLF CLUB5

The 7,500-square-foot clubhouse at this golf club has a pro shop and 130-seat restaurant, the Edge Bar and Grill. A covered pavilion seats 100. The 18-hole golf course is 6,900 yards. (7205 West 115th St., Worth, 708.671.1032)

for 30, two bathrooms, and heating. (530 Hibbard Road, Winnetka, 847.501.2065) FLEETWOOD SKATING RINK5

Open since 1957, this 12,375-square-foot roller rink has a domed ceiling. A snack bar and seating area outside the rink hold 200. A 3,000-square-foot room offers two pool tables, 20 arcade games, and seats for 100. (7231 West Archer Ave., Summit, 708.458.0300) THE GREEN AT GRANT PARK5

This professional putting green in Grant Park is in a botanic garden with city skyline views. There are nine holes to the west and nine to the east of a patio, which can be set with tables and umbrellas or a tent to accommodate 300. An on-site full-service bar and grill provides catering. (352 East Monroe St., 312.540.9013) HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE5


This 1,000-square-foot boutique carries more than 250 wines categorized by flavor, with fruity, spicy, floral/ herbal, earthy, and toasty sections. It holds 75. Bespoke Cuisine and Pastoral Artisan Cheese are the preferred caterers, and off-site wine tastings can be arranged. (3325 North Halsted St., 773.975.9463) NEW THE NOBLE GRAPE

The Noble Grape opened in West Town in July 2009. Selling international wines, beers, and spirits, the space can host receptions or wine tastings for 40. The owners, all restaurant-industry veterans, can provide cheese plates or contemporary American fare to accompany the wine. (802 North Bishop St., 312.846.1204) POISON CUP

Lincoln Park wine shop Poison Cup, open since April 2009, can host receptions or wine tastings for 50. Catering can come from the shop’s restaurant partners, fondue spot Geja’s and Dee’s Asian restaurant; the venue also works with a list of personal chefs. Co-owner John Witte, a professional photographer, can shoot events for no additional cost. (1128 West Armitage Ave., 773.935.1325)

This 1,095-yard nine-hole public golf course features a gazebo, a snack shop, tournaments, and private lessons. The course is outside the Weber Leisure Center, which has two meeting rooms that seat 35 and 70. (9300 Weber Park Place, Skokie, 847.674.1500 ext. 3600)

On 30 acres outside of Chicago, this one-mile horse-racing track was founded in 1891. After closing for a few decades because of the city’s 1905 horse-racing ban, the 80,000seat track is now a prominent racing venue. The infield and three parking lots can be rented for events. Four suites and dining rooms are available; the largest dining room holds 650. (3501 South Laramie Ave., Cicero, 708.780.3700)



This golf club is on 240 acres, with two 18-hole courses, a driving range, two putting greens, and a clubhouse. The banquet room seats 300 and has a wraparound balcony. The 80-seat Club Room restaurant serves American cuisine. (500 West Jefferson St., Bensenville, 630.766.0304)

Skatium, inside the Weber Leisure Center, has a full-size ice rink and a smaller rink that can be used for parties or roller hockey during the summer. The venue also offers a fitness center, a gym, and two carpeted party rooms. The smaller room seats 35, while the larger room holds 70. (9300 Weber Park Place, Skokie, 847.674.1500 ext. 2900)





Combining lacrosse, hockey, basketball, and bumper cars, WhirlyBall is a game in which handheld scoops are used to propel Wiffle balls at scoring targets. The 25,000-squarefoot venue includes three WhirlyBall courts, a multilevel laser-tag arena, and arcade games. Seven meeting rooms each hold 40. (1880 West Fullerton Ave., 773.486.7777)

Open since 1982, this 10-acre equestrian center can host corporate meetings and company picnics for 50 to 5,000 people. The barn can hold 1,000 for receptions. A.K.F. Entertainment handles all catering and has an on-site team to assist with event planning. (6526 Clarendon Hills Road, Willowbrook, 630.327.3482)



In addition to providing teambuilding activities off-site, this company hosts events at its 55,000-square-foot facility. The space holds 3,500 people, and has six basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts, an indoor soccer and inline skating rink, and a baseball pitching machine with a batting tunnel. There is also a 3,000-square-foot party room with a kitchen. (2367 West Logan Blvd., 773.486.7300)

With 11,000 square feet and five studios, the Galaxie offers tap, go-go, flamenco, and swing-dance classes; tai chi and kickboxing classes; and art classes such as painting, silk screening, and glassblowing. The studio spaces used for art classes have cement floors, while the dance studios floors are hardwood . (2603 West Barry Ave., 773.267.6010)


The main floor of this upscale pool hall and restaurant is 6,000 square feet and includes booths and 13 nine-footlong pool tables. The second floor is a private room of the same size with 13 more tables. Thirty specialty martinis and more than 40 premium beers are available. Each floor holds 100. (157 North Morgan St., 312.850.3170) THE SEVEN TEN LOUNGE5

Bowling and billiard events can be held at this 7,000-square-foot 1940s Art Deco lounge. Two private rooms each have four bowling lanes, with a full bar in one room and a pool table in the second. Other spaces include a dining room, a lounge, and a poolroom with a full bar and seven pool tables. Nine tables out front are also available. (2747 North Lincoln Ave., 773.549.2695)




Just Grapes is a 4,000-square-foot wine shop specializing in tasting events, retail, and education. The private wine cellar is decorated with 21 oak wine barrels and has a mounted LCD projector with a 6- by 8-foot screen, wireless Internet, and nine seminar tables that seat a total of 34. (560 West Washington Blvd., Suite 100, 312.627.9463)

Operated by the Winnetka Park District, this public North Shore facility has eight indoor and 12 outdoor tennis courts. A glass viewing area overlooking the indoor courts holds 20 at each court for receptions. A small building by the outdoor courts is available for use, with tables

Bars, Lounges & Clubs BARS & LOUNGES



This bar has a bachelor-pad vibe and holds 200 on its main floor. The V.I.P. loft features dark leather couches and window-lined walls, comes with its own private bar staff, overlooks the dance floor, and holds 80. (9 West Division St., 312.654.1120)

Owners David Halpern and Ben Klopp designed AliveOne for music lovers. The shelves of tapes that decorate the walls house the bar’s rotating music library, which includes 100 concert albums. The back room holds 50; the total venue capacity is 150. (2683 North Halsted St., 773.348.9800) ANGELS & KINGS

Backed by Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, Angels & Kings is the second outpost of New York’s bar of the same name. The space, which opened in June 2008, features a DJ pulpit spruced up with an electric halo, and quirky decorations including celebrity mug shots and AK-47s designed by Gucci and Louis Vuitton. The space holds 150. (710 North Clark St., 312.482.8600) THE APARTMENT

The Apartment is a loungey alternative to the Lion Head Pub downstairs, though both venues are owned by Ala Carte Entertainment. The Apartment’s windows and ceiling are draped with multicolored swaths of fabric and accented with neon lights. It holds 300. (2251 North Lincoln Ave., 773.348.5100)


Bar Novo opened in Renaissance Hotel in the Loop in September 2009. With an L-shaped bar and a central chef’s station, the 244-capacity lounge serves truffled buffalo wings, mini Cuban sandwiches, and prime-rib nachos. Cocktails include a cucumber-pepper margarita and a strawberry-champagne cocktail served in an absinthe-misted glass. (1 Wacker Drive, 312.372.7200) BEAUMONT BAR AND GRILL

The Beaumont Bar and Grill becomes the nightclub Beaumont 2020 after hours or for private events. The back lounge area is a retro flashback, with wood-paneled walls, mauve floor tiles, and 1960s-style furniture. The front bar and lounge area holds 250, as does the back bar area. (2020 North Halsted St., 773.281.0177) NEW BEAUTY BAR


More than 100 rare boutique wines and 300 additional bottles on reserve are available at this 13,000-square-foot space. The first floor has a large bar. The Tasting Room holds 200 for receptions and can provide catering with a full buffet. (1415 West Randolph St., 312.942.1313)



The Horshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana has several event facilities in addition to a 108,00-square-foot casino. The largest event space, The Venue, holds 2,500 for receptions. Other spaces include the 100-seat Lakeview Room, two lounges, six V.I.P. suites, a ballroom that holds 250 or can be divided into three smaller rooms, and the 200-seat Jack Binion Steakhouse. All event guests must be 21 or older. (777 Casino Center Drive, Hammond, Ind., 219.473.5930)

but can also customize music for private events by providing or working with outside bands and DJs. (2500 North Southport Ave., 773.472.1502) OPENING SOON BLOKES & BIRDS

Set to open in the summer of 2010, Blokes & Birds is a neighborhood pub. With two levels and 12 TVs, the casual venue is decked with dark wood fixtures and chocolate leather banquettes. The first floor offers a custom-made pool table, while the upstairs area houses several communal tables. (3342 North Clark St., 312.286.8485) BOTTOM LOUNGE

This live-music venue and bar opened in June 2008 in a former auto body shop in the West Loop. The two-story space comes equipped with a stage and a Tiki-themed bar area, and can accommodate 1,500. On the venue’s upper level, a 2,500 square-foot patio can hold 150. (1375 West Lake Street, 312.666.6775) BULL & BEAR5

An upscale sports bar, Bull & Bear opened in River North in January 2009. Available for full buyout, the space can host around 230 guests. A sidewalk patio seats 75, and the main bar can host receptions for 100. Designed to eliminate bar lines, the venue’s tabletop beer taps offer one domestic and one imported draft that guests can pour themselves. (431 North Wells St., 312.527.5973) NEW CEDAR HOTEL5

From the owners of Manor and RiNo, the Cedar Hotel opened in August 2009. With an American menu, the bar has a drink list filled with thematic cocktails such as the Secret Rendezvous sangria and the Chamber Maid’s Cherry Limeade. A sprawling patio filled with wicker furniture hosts receptions for 150; the venue’s cedar-lined interior holds 99. (1112 North State St., 312.944.1112)

Atrium at Fox and Obel opened in October 2009 within the Fox & Obel grocery store. Outfitted with club chairs and velvet drapery, the cafe offers a wine list and entrees such as pumpkin-and-roasted-duck risotto and gingerspiced chicken breast. (401 East Illinois St., 312.410.7301)

Beauty Bar, a cocktail lounge with a 1960s-beauty-parlor look, opened its first Chicago location in March 2010. Offering manicures and specialty martinis, the venue uses Logan Square’s Longman & Eagle restaurant as a preferred caterer. The West Town nightspot is available for full and partial buyout and has a total capacity of 350. (1444 West Chicago Ave., 312.226.8828)



Tapas with an American flair is the specialty at Bar Celona, a bilevel venue that holds 100 upstairs and 100 downstairs. A rotating menu keeps the fare fresh at this Wrigleyville bar, while featured drinks include staples like sangria and margaritas. DJs and plasma TVs entertain guests in an atmosphere with gold accents. (3474 North Clark St., 773.244.8000)

Blue neon lighting sets the mood at Betty’s Blue Star Lounge, an after-hours club with space for 250 that hosts private and semiprivate events. Betty’s has a dance floor and DJ. (1600 West Grand Ave., 312.710.1300)

Chi Bar is a street-level lounge inside the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. The 1,840-square-foot space has 15 flatscreen TVs, leather sofas, and views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. Chi Bar can accommodate cocktail parties for 130 and has a light appetizer menu. (301 East North Water St., 312.755.2227)



This bar has a back lounge that holds 100 and features a small stage and dance floor. The Bird’s Nest has a jukebox

With a Merchandise Mart-adjacent address, Cityscape Bar opened in February 2008. Available for private events,


CHI BAR summer 2010 61

Chicago Venue Directory

Bars, Lounges & Clubs

Girl lamp and a painting of Cap’n Crunch—line the walls, along with dining booths designed to look as though they belong in a bowling alley. A private room holds 50 people, and the entire venue holds 150 for receptions. (2771 North Lincoln Ave., 773.472.2771) NEW DIVISION ALE HOUSE5

this bar—which holds 99—sits on the 15th floor of the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. (350 West Mart Center Drive, 312.836.5000) CLIMAX LOUNGE

The Chicago home of the late DJ AM, the 6,250-square-foot Climax Lounge works an 18th-century England look. The space is divided into four rooms, including the Atrium, which has 35-foot ceilings, a skylight, and a 21-foot maple tree in its center. Total capacity is 655. (324 West Chicago Ave., 312.280.9800) CLUB ROYALE

This Japanese restaurant and lounge opened in July 2008. The 3,000-square-foot space is filled with dark woods, amber resin, and backlit onyx walls covered in ghostly branch patterns. The space holds 245. (205 North Peoria St., 312.666.9400) CLYBAR & GRILLE5

This Lincoln Park bar and grill features plasma TVs and a menu of upscale bar food with an international-fusion influence (think “Irish nachos”). The interior holds 99 while the patio holds 20. Clybar offers party packages and will customize its music for events. (2417 North Clybourn Ave., 773.388.1877)

Open since July 2009, this bar offers a menu of pub fare that ranges from traditional (cheeseburgers) to less so (pasta with bacon and beer-and-cheese sauce). Full buyouts can accommodate 100 guests; a patio seats an additional 26. A semiprivate space seats 25. Audiovisual amenities include eight 50-inch plasma-screen TVs. (1942 West Division St., 773.384.6886)



This three-room bar, with a capacity of 300, has an all-new interior, including renovated restrooms, a new V.I.P. area, and upholstered seating that’s also available outdoors. The lower level seats 30 or holds 50 for receptions; the dance floor holds 100. (1100 North State St., 312.988.7887)

On the lower level of River North’s Mercadito restaurant, Double A opened in November 2009. With dark wood paneling, a DJ booth, and brown leather banquettes, the intimate lounge can host receptions for 60. Mixologists work at an exposed cocktail station, whipping up specialty drinks with ingredients that include egg whites and torched thyme. (108 West Kinzie St., 312.329.9555) NEW DREAM BOUTIQUE LOUNGE5


This Wicker Park bar, which resembles a mechanic’s garage, opened in 2007 and has a private room for 50. A retractable garage door allows for outdoor dining. Cortland’s Garage does not have a kitchen but allows patrons to order food from local restaurants, with the wait staff placing the order and serving it at the table. (1645 West Cortland St., 773.862.7877)

Open since November 2008, Wicker Park’s Edge specializes in coffee-infused cocktails and exotic small plates such as ostrich sliders. The venue’s interior, filled with modular seating and U-shaped banquettes, can host receptions for 250. Come summer, a fenced-in beer garden with a plasma TV will offer seating for 60. (1700 West Division St., 773.227.3100)



Crimson Lounge opened in April 2008 inside downtown’s new Hotel Sax. Heavy tapestries and plush furniture in dark tones help create a confidential feel, as do three private areas that hold 50, 20, and 12. The entire venue holds 230. (333 North Dearborn St., 312.923.2473)

This L-shaped bar holds 200 for events. The venue’s sophisticated style—with blue and gray tones, stone accents, and a skylight window—is punctuated by offthe-cuff informality: Imported beer is served wrapped in a brown paper bag. (12 West Elm St., 312.337.3200)



This 30,000-square-foot sports bar is located across the street from Wrigley Field. Cubby Bear offers live music seven nights a week, and has four private party rooms. The large main room features two full-service bars, a state-of-the-art sound system and stage, and a projection screen TV. Also on the first floor, the Dugout has its own bar, a private bathroom, and four projection screen TVs. Upstairs, the Upper Deck and the Wrigley Room can also be rented for events. (1059 West Addison, 773.327.1662)

With tree-trunk stools, stained-wood walls adorned with white antlers, and top-shelf bottles housed in illuminated arches, the 2,000-square-foot Empire Liquors channels an enchanted forest. The decor is scored with a soundtrack of hip-hop and house spun by a live DJ. This venue can hold 250. (1566 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.278.1600)


Cuvée, a 5,000-square-foot lounge, opened in September 2009. The lounge has decor inspired by the inside of a champagne bottle. Trappings include light boxes filled with golden and brown marbles, and mirrored discs hang from the ceiling to evoke bubble clusters. The venue can be bought out for groups of 400. To the right, a raised banquette-lined area can hold 20. Banquette seating areas can hold groups of eight. (308 West Erie St., 630.688.3374) C-VIEW5

Sleek cocktail lounge C-View occupies the 29th floor of the Affinia Chicago hotel. Open since May 2008, the 45-seat venue offers small plates designed by chef Marcus Samuelsson. A connected patio features illuminated Lucite tables and views of the city skyline and holds 50 for cocktails. (166 East Superior St., 312.523.0923) DARKROOM5

Local photographers show their work at this Ukranian Village nightspot designed like a light box: The circular, barely lit bar is the focal point of the venue, which holds 221 people. Antique photos are a part of the otherwise contemporary decor. A patio holds 45. (2210 West Chicago Ave., 773.276.1411) DÉJÀ VU

The first floor of this Ala Carte Entertainment establishment has a blues club atmosphere while the second-floor party room—with several private areas—holds 125. Déjà Vu features animal prints; a stark red, black, and white color scheme; and plush couches and chairs. (2624 North Lincoln Ave., 773.871.0205) DELILAH’S

This whiskey bar has a selection of more than 400 whiskeys and 250 beers. Kitschy toys and artwork—like a Bat

62 summer 2010

Hangge-Uppe,open since the 1970s,has a variety of theme bars—such as the tropically decorated Cuervo Island—and three dance floors. DJs play pop music upstairs and Top 40 hits from the ’50s to the ’80s downstairs. The entire venue holds 350. (14 West Elm St., 312.337.0561) At this ’60s-themed uptown club, Rat Pack kitsch lines the interiors of the front and back bars, which each hold 80. A photo booth in the back offers impromptu mementos. Holiday Club serves a menu of comfort food. A patio holds 60. (4000 North Sheridan Road, 773.348.9600)


Open since December 2009, Cuna offers sharable small plates from former Sepia chef Kendal Duque, and all menu items cots $16 or less. In Lakeview, the 6,000-square-foot space holds 200 and seats 80. Four distinct areas include a bar area, a raised seating area, a dining room, and a lounge area dubbed “The Den,” which can be rented out for groups of 60. (1113 West Belmont Ave., 312.224.8588)



The owners of the now-closed Stardust recently opened this lounge and nightclub. Before 10 p.m., swing and jazz music plays while a menu of appetizers is served. Later, a soundtrack of funk and soul transforms the space into a nightclub. There is an 80-seat patio and a reservationsonly V.I.P. room. (1750 North Clark St., 312.932.1750)


Two downstairs rooms with different themes are available at Goodbar: The front bar—painted by muralist Jeff Zimmerman—holds 100; the back bar has a more subdued design and space for 150. An upstairs room, which holds 150, has a patio. The entire venue holds 400. (2512 North Halsted St., 773.296.9700)

A private back room at D.O.C. Wine Bar seats 25 or holds 45 for receptions, and offers a full menu from the adjacent Dunlay’s On Clark restaurant. The ultramodern decor— inside and out—features wood tones and metal textures. Group events feature private wine tours. (2602 North Clark St., 773.883.5101)

Open since late July 2009, this Logan Square beer joint is nestled beneath the blue line El tracks. With a small stage area, the venue offers live entertainment ranging from rock to rockabilly. The capacity is 99, with seating for 75. (2338 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.276.5802)




This martini bar was recently renovated. The updated space can host private and semiprivate events for as many as 120. The lounge, adjacent to the Hotel Allegro Chicago and across the street from City Hall, serves appetizers and finger food. (171 West Randolph St., 312.338.3788) ENO

Magnificent Mile’s Eno is a street-level nook in the InterContinental Hotel. The 1,200-square-foot wine bar serves 600 wines alongside chocolates and cheeses. Teambuilding activities include sommelier-led lessons, blind tastings, or wine-crafting contests. A semiprivate room for 10 is available, and full buyouts can host 65. (505 North Michigan Ave., 312.321.8738) NEW THE EXCHANGE

This cozy cocktail lounge sprang up in Wicker Park in January 2010. Outfitted with patterned wallpaper, banquette seating, and hanging light fixtures, the space holds 99. Craft cocktails like orange bitters punch come in vintage crystal bowls. Other options include the “Swimming In It,” a blend of gin, chamomile tea, honey syrup, sparkling wine, and lemon and tangerine juices. (1270 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.342.5282) FAITH & WHISKEY

Open since January 2009, Lincoln Park’s Faith & Whiskey is dressed up with authentic vintage choppers and backlit steer skulls. The spot can host receptions for 100, and a semiprivate area on a raised platform accommodates 20. Hosts can bring in caterers of their choosing. (1365 West Fullerton Ave., 312.248.9119) FIVE STAR BAR

Five Star Bar offers a mega-menu of drinks, including 101 whiskeys, Scotches, and bourbons (and nearly as many beers). The decor includes dark vinyl-like walls and oversize booths. A back area holds 50, and a side area has space for 15, while the entire venue holds around 150. (1424 West Chicago Ave., 312.850.2555) FIZZ5

This bar and grill’s retro diner storefront and bottle-cap logo contrast with the clean design of its upstairs party room, the loft. Fizz holds 500 while the loft holds 250. The beer garden can hold 80 for semiprivate events, or the entire garden can be rented for 155. (3220 North Lincoln Ave., 773.348.6000)



Offering Japanese small plates, Izakaya Hapa opened just off the Magnificent Mile in January 2010. Furbished with unfinished barn wood and oversize photos of Asian street markets, the second-floor lounge seats 20 to 35 in its private dining area. Amenities include Wi-Fi and 42-inch TVs. (58 East Ontario St., 312.202.0808) JUICY WINE CO.

Juicy Wine Co. brought its clean, minimalist look to the River West neighborhood in 2007. The space has upstairs and downstairs lounges (which hold 75 and 150, respectively) and a stand-and-sip bar. Guests can sample small-batch producers from around the world. (694 North Milwaukee Ave., 312.492.6620) KREM

Blue lighting casts a serene glow on white leather banquettes and breezy white curtains at the subterranean lounge Krem. A special DJ bar allows guests to pull up a stool and watch the resident experts spin, and a cabana-filled patio is also available. Also on site: a 33-footlong couch. (1750 North Clark St., 312.932.1750) LAKEVIEW BROADCASTING COMPANY

Music and fashion meet at this bilevel venue, which holds 40 in a private room. The Model Box room displays moving mannequins dressed in ’70s and ’80s clothing, and the menu offers kitsch dishes like a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich served sushi-roll-style. The entire venue holds 75. (3542 North Halsted St., 773.857.2444) LASALLE POWER CO.

River North’s rock-themed LaSalle Power Co. opened in May 2009 in a three-story 20,000-square-foot structure that can hold 1,000. On the ground level, the private Red Room seats 40. Decked with pool tables and retro swivel chairs, the second floor seats 250. With a stage used for live performances, the third floor can hold 300. (500 North LaSalle Blvd., 312.661.1122) THE LEG ROOM

This bar serves champagne by the bottle, cosmopolitans, and newfangled cocktails in an intimate setting with corner couches and hanging drapes in funky prints. Full buffets are available courtesy of next-door neighbor Finn McCool’s Irish Pub. The venue holds 120 for receptions. (7 West Division St., 312.337.2583) THE LIBERTINE

This bilevel bar holds 198. The Victorian-gothic decor features fleur-de-lis designs and dark tones, and there are semiprivate areas upstairs. French influences can also be found on the otherwise American menu, which offers both an organic beet dish and a pizza of the day. (1615 North Clybourn Ave., 312.654.1782) LIVING ROOM

In the W Hotel’s ground-floor café, the Living Room luncheonette turns into a cocktail lounge after business hours. Its red room, which holds 40 and can be reserved for private functions, incorporates a V.I.P. look and feel, with low lighting and intimate seating. (644 North Lake Shore Drive, 312.943.9200) THE LODGE

The Lodge, the oldest bar on Division Street, opened its doors in 1957. It added a back room in the ‘90s called the Bullpen, which holds 40 for private events. The Lodge has exposed brick walls strung with multicolored lights. The entire venue holds 110. (21 West Division St., 312.642.4406) LUMEN

Eco-friendly and futuristic, this 5,000-square-foot lounge inside a converted Fulton Market meatpacking factory has an expansive LED lighting system that pulses based on body movements and music beats. Lumen has a mostly white interior with minimalist modular furniture that can be moved around to accommodate events of 300. (839 West Fulton Market St., 312.733.2222) MARKET5

Open since April 2009, the West Loop’s Market has a 4,000-square-foot rooftop lounge with seven cabanas and seating for 200. Other outdoor spaces include a 60-seat

sidewalk café and a 2,500-square-foot beer garden. Inside, the venue can seat 175 or host 250 for cocktails. (1113 West Randolph St., 312.929.4787) MAXBAR

Lincoln Park’s MaxBar, from the owners of Crobar, is half glossy tavern, half dance lounge. The 4,000-square-foot space holds 400 and is festooned with glittering candles and leather banquettes and booths. Groups of 250 can take over the back room, which includes a private mezzanine. (2247 North Lincoln Ave., 773.549.5884) MOTEL BAR5

This retro ’70s-themed bar and restaurant in River North is modeled after a classic hotel lobby. Guests sip sidecars and martinis or chow on thin-crust pizzas in the dimly lit circular orange booths or on the patio. The entire restaurant can be rented for 200 guests. (600 West Chicago Ave., 312.822.2900) 1914

Inside Wrigleyville dance club Red Ivy, 1914 opened in October 2008 and—despite its name—aims to recreate a 1924 Chicago speakeasy. Servers sport flapper costumes, bartenders sound off on President Calvin Coolidge, and specialty cocktails come in teacups. The space holds 80. (3525 North Clark St., 773.472.0900) NV PENTHOUSE LOUNGE5

On the eighth floor of an office building,this 3,400-squarefoot lounge channels Old Hollywood glam with vintage mirrors, pony-hair accents, and low-slung chandeliers. Outside, cabanas provide seating for 40. (116 West Hubbard St., 312.329.9960) O’DONOVAN’S5

O’Donovan’s, which serves pub food and has 16 beers on tap, has a beer garden that feels like a tropical tiki hut in the summertime. In the winter, the deck is covered and seats 60. A private back room holds 50. The upstairs lounge, which has a retro ’70s feel, holds 80. (2100 West Irving Park Road, 773.478.2100) NEW OLD TOWN SOCIAL

Open since August 2009 and billed as a sporting parlor, Old Town Social is furnished with marble bar tops and antique bar stools; it also houses a charcuterie bar and a shoe-shine station. Available for full buyout, the venue can seat 210 or host receptions for 500. At the back of the space, a semiprivate area with its own bar can seat 40 or hold 100 for cocktails. (455 West North Ave., 312.266.2277) PARAMOUNT ROOM5

In a nondescript former speakeasy, this bilevel bar with brick walls and dark-wood floors is easy to miss. The 12 brews on tap change regularly. The venue seats 72 and holds 90; a rustic patio holds 50. (415 North Milwaukee Ave., 312.829.6300) P.J. CLARKE’S

The Clover Room at P.J. Clarke’s—with its wooden bar, satellite TV, and a balcony that overlooks the street below—holds 120 guests. Green booths provide seating for people who want to sample the bar’s comfort fare, such as chicken potpie, pot roast, and fish and chips. (1204 North State St., 312.664.1650) P.J. CLARKE’S STREETERVILLE

The Celebrity Room at the Streeterville branch of P.J. Clarke’s features a fireplace, beige walls decked with framed sports memorabilia, and large windows looking down on the main dining area. The single-malt Scotch and beer selections pair well with the classy pub grub. (302 East Illinois St., 312.670.7500) PLAN B

At Plan B, an array of lighting—ranging from red LEDs to black glass chandeliers—illuminates an eclectic decor, complete with textured wallpaper and black-denim furniture. Groups of 30 to 200 can be accommodated in the 2,300-square-foot space. (1635 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.252.2680) THE PONY

This 2,500-square-foot spot opened in March 2008. Wood accents, plush booths, tables with personal flat-screen TVs, and suspended copper light fixtures round out the main floor’s aesthetic; it holds 200 for receptions. The upstairs, which holds 100, has a clubbier feel, with a DJ and red walls. (1638 West Belmont Ave., 773.828.5055)



This lounge opened in 2008. A second-floor party room holds 125, and the entire lounge seats 96 or holds 200. Patrons can order the signature South Beach Mojito (with Bacardi Raz, muddled raspberries, and blackberries) and a steak salad or a pear-and-chicken panini. (3462 North Clark St., 773.975.2010)

A third location of Small Bar, which also has outlets in Wicker Park and Logan Square, opened on Fullerton Avenue in February 2010. The venue has an upstairs room that holds 50. Referred to as the Mezz, the space holds two 44-inch TVs. The restaurant and bar can seat 150. A menu of hearty bar fare includes pulled-pork nachos and piles of hand-cut fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy. (1415 West Fullerton Ave., 773.525.2727)


Billed as a gastro-lounge, the 1920s-style Red Canary opened in River West in July 2009. Classic cocktails such as sidecars and Manhattans headline the list. At 6,000 square feet, the space can seat 100; an ivy-covered patio seats 78 in the warmer months. (695 North Milwaukee Ave., 312.846.1473) RED KIVA5

Red Kiva, which is gray with black-and-white chairs, holds 125 for receptions. It can be broken into three areas: A circular space surrounding the stage holds 40, the back area seats 45 or holds 60 for receptions, and the patio seats 32. (1108 West Randolph St., 312.226.5577) REDNOFIVE

A row of opulent gold chandeliers hovers above the main bar at Rednofive. The 10,000-square-foot bilevel space features two-sided red couches and a dance floor where guests can get down to hip-hop or house music. The entire venue can hold 1,000 for receptions. (440 North Halsted St., 312.733.6699) RELAX LOUNGE

Relax Lounge sets a salubrious tone, with candles flickering inside beakers and a vintage pharmacy sign glowing behind the 30-foot bar. The West Town joint, which opened in 2007, has a private room that holds 60. A horseshoe-shaped booth can seat 16. (1450 West Chicago Ave., 312.666.6006) NEW ROCKWOOD PLACE

Open since August 2009, this bar offers two pool tables, 16 50-inch plasma TVs, and a menu of American fare such as margarita flatbreads and California chicken sandwiches. An Eat Well, Drink Better establishment, the Wrigleyville venue can host receptions for 249; a semiprivate space holds 100. (3466 North Clark St., 773.880.2222) ROOF5

On the 27th floor of the Wit Hotel, Roof is a—wait for it—7,000 square foot rooftop lounge that offers woodfired pizzas and small plates paired with gourmet cocktails. The terrace, equipped with communal tables and fire pits, operates all year. Open since May 2009, the space holds 150. (201 North State St., 312.239.9501) SALUD TEQUILA LOUNGE5

Three Headed Productions opened Salud, which has copper-plated bars and a colorful, artwork-accented interior. Offering more than 70 types of tequila, plus innovative takes on Mexican fare, the lounge seats 65 or holds 270 for receptions; a patio seats 24. (1471 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.235.5577) SALUTE WINE BAR5

Salute Wine Bar opened in the Gold Coast in May 2009. With a wine list that represents each of Italy’s 20 regions, the venue can host 60 for cocktails or 45 for seated dinners. At the back of the space, a curtained alcove seats 10, and a patio can host dinners for 20. The menu of Italian classics includes four-cheese panini and homemade tiramisu. (46 East Superior St., 312.664.0100) SCHOOLYARD TAVERN & GRILL5

This sports bar and lounge features 19 plasma TVs, a fireplace, and candlelit tables. It serves Hamm’s in a can but also Hacker-Pschorr on tap. The back room holds 99; a large tree-shaded patio will hold 50. (3258 North Southport Ave., 773.528.8226) SHEFFIELD’S5

Sheffield’s serves a plethora of craft-brewed and imported beers. The beer garden—with picnic tables, brick walls, and a towering cottonwood tree—holds 202 for receptions. The front room has a vintage bar and holds 69, the garden-view area holds 60, and the café holds 99. (3258 North Sheffield Ave., 773.281.4989) NEW SHEFFIELD’S BEER & WINE GARDEN5

This champagne bar moved from its original Lakeview location to a 6,000-square-foot bilevel space on State Street in 2006. The venue pours 100 champagnes by the bottle and seven by the glass. A lower-level space, reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy, features live jazz nightly. (601 North State St., 312.266.7677)

Sheffield’s River Grove location opened in July 2009. The 6,500-square-foot space seats 200, and a flower-filled beer garden provides seating for an additional 60. Available for full buyout, the venue can accommodate receptions for 300 between its indoor and outdoor areas. For smaller parties, a semiprivate area off the main dining room seats 15. The chef can prepare passed hors d’oeuvres, food stations, or plated dinners. (3131 North Thatcher, River Grove, 708.452.3131)



Social Twenty-Five took over the former Moda space in March 2009. The sports bar and lounge can accommodate groups of 400; hosts can also rent out one of two floors. The 300-capacity upper level has a small stage. The lower level, which has its own bar and an additional six plasmascreen TVs, can seat 50 or hold 100 for receptions. (25 West Hubbard St., 312.670.2200) SOIREE BAR & BISTRO

Soiree channels 19th-century Paris with its FrenchAmerican plates and swanky cocktails. The decor includes vintage draperies, candlelit tables, and beaded light fixtures. The 3,000-square-foot space holds 500. The private, orange-hued Cointreau Room is also available. (2438 North Lincoln Ave., 773.477.8880) SPOON

Spoon is known for its specialty martinis, like the Barely Legal (Ketel One Citroen, Apple Pucker, peach schnapps, and pineapple juice). The interior features leather ottomans and banquettes, mirror-backed bars, and red accents. Spoon can host parties for as many as 400 people. (1240 North Wells St., 312.642.5522) STONE LOTUS

This bilevel 3,800-square-foot “liquor spa” has three bars, two DJ booths, and a 60-foot-long granite water wall. Stone Lotus is open 24/7 for private events and holds groups of 20 to 300 on one or both levels. An outdoor smoking area is available. (873 North Orleans St., 312.440.9680) STRETCH BAR & GRILL

Named after baseball’s seventh-inning tradition, the Stretch Bar & Grill opened in Wrigleyville in April. The long, narrow alley bar can accommodate 80 for seated dinners. The entire space can host 150 for receptions, and a private dining room can seat 50 or hold 80 for cocktails. (3485 North Clark St., 773.755.3980) STRETCH RUN5

This bilevel wagering lounge has chandeliers, a marble entryway, dark wood, artwork, and 217 TVs. The first and second floors hold 150, multiple private party rooms accommodate groups of 10 to 40, and a patio seats 40. (544 North LaSalle St., 312.644.4477) SUITE LOUNGE

This underground spot is a stone-walled space with contemporary furnishings. The entire venue holds 110 for receptions, but also offers three distinct spaces: The penthouse—with two TVs and padded ottomans—seats 25; the V Booth seats eight; and the O Suite seats 10. (1446 North Wells St., 312.787.6103) NEW SWEETWATER

Sweetwater opened in the Loop in September 2009. With dark wood furniture, stone walls, and a wavy ceiling that nods to the venue’s name, Sweetwater houses a private party room that can hold 16. Menu items include burgers and cookie skillets; the bar serves more than 70 kinds of beer. (225 North Michigan Ave., 312.698.7111) SWIRL WINE BAR

Swirl Wine Bar has been serving local River North oenophiles since 2006. The 3,500-square-foot space is filled with warm light, white brick walls and cocoa suede banquettes. A private room holds 75, and group tastings can be arranged. (111 West Hubbard St., 312.828.9000) NEW TEMPLE BAR

Named after a neighborhood in Dublin, Temple Bar opened in April 2010. With an 18-foot bar, eight plasma TVs, and black-and-white photographs of British rockers, the pub can host 120. Smaller sections can also be reserved. A menu of Irish fare includes Guinness beef stew, and fish and chips. (3001 North Ashland Ave., 312.265.1133) THEORY

Upscale sports bar Theory opened in December 2008. Available for full buyouts, the space can host receptions for 115. A private back room holds 20 for cocktails and channels a home theater with La-Z-Boy recliners, Wii games, and a flat-screen TV. (9 West Hubbard St., 312.644.0004) TONIC ROOM

Tonic Room features vintage liquor bottles lining the bar, vivid paintings hanging on red walls, and leather sofas. For private events, the staff can arrange a band or a DJ. Tonic Room holds 125. (2447 North Halsted St., 773.248.8400)



Pour Drinks & Eats opened in Roscoe Village in May 2010. The venue offers a TV-equipped beer garden, a cocktail list with offerings such as spiked strawberry lemonade, and a menu of bar food with a twist. Hot dogs, for example, come stuffed with cheese and wrapped with tortillas. A back room, available for private events, seats 20. (3358 North Ashland Ave., 773.472.3358)

Four Corners Tavern Group opened its first downtown venue in 2006. Sidebar holds 200 for receptions. A private dining room holds 15, with sliding French doors to separate the room from the main area. The classic American bar has heavy wood accents, and its menu features upscale American pub grub. (221 North La Salle St., 312.739.3900) SIMONE’S



Opened in Pilsen in February, this bar’s quirky, recycled decor includes booths made from reconfigured pinball machines. Containing old lab equipment and chemistry tables, a private 1,000-square-foot back room known as Simone’s Lab can host 120 for receptions or seat 75. (960 West 18th St., 312.666.8601)

This bomb-shelter-themed lounge has black and gray leather banquettes, cargo-crate tables, and walls bearing illuminated world maps, like a war room. The space holds 300 and serves cocktails with names like Angostura Assassin and Cosmopolitan Espionage. (56 West Illinois St., 312.943.7600)

Rebar, which opened in 2008 in the Trump International Hotel, flies in edible flowers that taste like onions and apples to adorn its cocktails. Framed photos of the Chicago River decorate the main room’s three support pillars. A V.I.P. area holds 35. (401 North Wabash, 312.588.8000)

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space


This tropical-themed bar features karaoke and has a party room that holds 60 for receptions. A beer garden seats 30. The whole space is littered with island kitsch and holds 140. (3216 North Sheffield Ave., 773.348.3250) summer 2010 63

Chicago Venue Directory

Bars, Lounges & Clubs UNION PARK

A marble-topped bar, elegant lamps, rich wood, and 15 plasma TVs define this stately bar, which draws a young professional crowd to watch sports and dine on upscale pub grub. The venue holds 400 for receptions. (228 South Racine, 312.243.9002) VERTIGO SKY LOUNGE

Perched on the roof of River North’s Dana Hotel and Spa, this lounge opened in October 2008. The 100-seat venue specializes in sushi and Vietnamese sandwiches. Equipped with a crystal-filled fire pit, a 1,000-square-foot patio can host receptions for 65. (2 East Erie St., 312.202.6060) VICE

Dan Krasny of Italian restaurant Vivo opened this lush West Loop spot—with brick walls, rich brown banquettes, and dim lighting—in 2007. A private upstairs party room, with two bathrooms and elevator access, seats 35 or holds 50 for receptions. (840 West Randolph St., 312.733.3379) VICTOR HOTEL

This 7,000-square-foot red-rope lounge in the warehouse district combines high ceilings and oversize white fabric lights with shag rugs and retro leather furniture. It can host groups of 300 in its main room and offers signature cocktails. (311 North Sangamon St., 312.733.6900) VIOLET HOUR

A fairy-tale environment—replete with periwinkle walls, crystal chandeliers, and oversize chairs that seem plucked from the Mad Hatter’s tea party—creates a removedfrom-reality vibe at the Violet Hour. The lounge is divided into three salons and can hold 80. (1520 North Damen Ave., 773.252.1500)

and patrons are allowed to order food from neighboring restaurants. A back room can hold 75. (1059 West Wrightwood Ave., 773.549.4949) Y BAR

Minimalist in its decor yet not skimpy on space, Y Bar offers furniture in varying sizes and can hold groups of 25 to 300. Two blond onyx bars, state-of-the-art audiovisual amenities, and plasma TVs come with the territory. (224 West Ontario, 312.787.2355) ZELLA5

The back room of the sleek, brick-walled Zella can be reserved for parties of 45 or more. Smaller groups can convene on the leather couches in front of the fireplace. There’s also a two-tiered beer garden that holds 150. (1983 North Clybourn Ave., 773.549.2910)


Everything is red at Ruby—bar tops, the DJ booth, artwork, and low-slung couches. The late-night basement dance club features house music and scantily clad dancers. Areas can be sectioned off for private parties. (151 West Ohio St., 312.832.1436)


This bilevel club in the Flatiron Arts Building opened in 2006. Designed by co-owner Vincent Haycock, the lower level features “moving wallpaper”—artistic video images projected onto plexiglass walls. Debonair holds 200 on the main floor and 100 on the lower level. (1575 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.227.7990)




This 15,000-square-foot River North nightclub features LED-lit private booths, sheer curtains, three bars, private areas, and dance platforms. Enclave can accommodate groups of 1,000. Fresh flowers are served with bottle service. (213 West Institute Place, 312.654.0234)

This 20,000-square-foot bilevel club has eight bars, two dance floors, multiple lounge spaces, audiovisual capabilities, and floor-to-ceiling video projectors. The green room holds 25, while the round bar, orange bar, and red room can each hold 100. The entire space holds 1,200. (226 West Ontario St., 312.787.4480)


Webster’s, allegedly Chicago’s oldest wine bar, offers a menu of global small plates and a detailed, well-edited wine list. The private party space, with a fireplace and couches, holds 100. It can accommodate wine tastings and live music. (1480 West Webster Ave., 773.868.0608)

Black walls and chain-link fencing surround the dance floor at this bilevel club, where gas masks and motorcycles are bolted to the floors. Each level holds 100. Exit can host semiprivate events for groups of 15 or more. (1315 West North Ave., 773.395.2700)



Four blocks from the Bulls’ home court at the United Center is this upscale neighborhood bar, which opened in 2007 and focuses on sports. The 5,000-square-foot space has plasma TVs, a 30-stool bar, and a menu that goes beyond wings to fancy burgers and pizzas. A semiprivate raised room holds 70; a private room holds 40. (1326 West Madison St., 312.981.7100)

Far East meets Midwest at this megaclub that holds 400. The mosaic tiles and carved-wood styling on the DJ booth complement the collection of Buddha statues. Three rooms hold 95 each. (728 West Grand Ave., 312.666.1695)

At this bar, plasma TVs share wall space with Notre Dame memorabilia. The bar slings mostly domestic beers,

This company has three yachts: the 60-foot SunSea and Gypsy Spirit, which each hold 49, and the Free Spirit, which holds 120. The staff can put together events with mystery, luau, or even Austin Powers themes. (773.284.4782) ANITA DEE YACHT CHARTERS

The Anita Dee I and II, which hold 149 and 400, respectively, are docked at Navy Pier. The 90-foot Anita Dee I has an enclosed deck with leather couches, a full-service bar, and a dance floor while the larger Anita Dee II has a second floor with formal seating for 120. (1821 West Hubbard St., Suite 110, 312.379.3191) CHICAGO LINE CRUISES

As the tour partner of the Chicago History Museum, this company has three boats that specialize in historical and architectural tours. The fleet includes the Ft. Dearborn, the 1920s-inspired Innisfree, and the Marquette, which hold 200, 90, and 50, respectively. (455 Illinois St., 312.527.2002) CHICAGO SAILING

Chicago Sailing has 24 sailboats for rent. Ten-person keelboats are available for licensed sailors, or larger charters can be arranged for the less experienced, the biggest of which holds 49. (B-Dock, Belmont Harbor, 773.871.7245) CHICAGO’S FIRST LADY CRUISES

This fleet has four vessels. The largest, Chicago’s First Lady, is adorned with mahogany and brass and has two full-

64 summer 2010

Joe Russo opened the Shrine in June 2009. The venue’s Africa-inspired decor is accented with tribal patterns and twig-covered light fixtures. Spanning 8,000 square feet, the nightspot holds 600; the smaller Coup d’Etat lounge has room for 250. (2109 South Wabash Ave., 312.753.5681)


The decor of this predominantly gay nightclub calls to mind a box of crayons, with royal blue walls, orange light fixtures, and red-topped pool tables. A private space in the back holds 150. (800 West Belmont Ave., 773.327.7711) SPY BAR

This underground club can be hard to find. Seating surrounds the dance floor, though the brightly lit front bar is a popular place for clubgoers to sit. The 5,100-squarefoot space holds 300, and areas can be sectioned for smaller parties. (646 North Franklin St., 312.587.8779) VAIN NIGHTCLUB

This trilevel 7,000-square-foot club has indoor waterfalls, low-slung U-shaped couches, brick walls, bikini-clad dancers, and a private space upstairs. The soundtrack blends hip-hop, mash-ups, and dance hits. (2354 North Clybourn Ave., 773.435.0130) VISION

This Gold Coast club features 10 martini flavors and two floors. Each floor has two bars; downstairs holds 400, while the upstairs Sky Level has space for 450. The entire venue holds 550. (1045 North Rush St., 312.397.1045)

This Gothic megaclub holds 2,000 and offers four areas for smaller gatherings on nine levels. The Vision dome holds 500; Vision Underground holds 135; Club Vision holds 1,200; and Vision Penthouse holds 125. Two balconies hold 85 each. (632 North Dearborn St., 312.266.1944)



No Chance Productions opened this club in June 2008. The bilevel space holds 400: The first floor, with a 50-foot vaulted ceiling supporting a custom-designed chandelier, holds 200, as does the mezzanine. The sidewalk café holds 100. (1332 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.851.4212)

Zentra is a 10,000-square-foot club with a Middle Eastern bent. Upstairs, the dance space has a custom-made digital sound system. Downstairs offers booth and sofa seating. The entire club holds 500, while a landscaped patio with its own bar holds 85. (923 West Weed St., 312.787.0400)




This 8,000-square-foot bilevel nightclub can hold 1,000 in its steel-decked space. A V.I.P. room has a glass-encased private entrance and holds 150. Off-site caterers are welcome. (1543 North Kingsbury St., 312.266.1900)



This 10,000-square-foot club offers two dance floors, seven V.I.P. areas, and chrome-colored bars with futuristic stools. Ontourage specializes in custom party packages, including open bars. (157 West Ontario Ave., 312.573.1470)



The covered, heated beer garden at Witt’s seats 50 or holds 100, though you’ll have to make room for the Baggo game most private parties request free of charge. The main bar area holds 75. (2913 North Lincoln Ave., 773.528.7032)



With brick walls, padded booths, and low amber lighting, this tavern with a penchant for the Wisconsin Badgers has a loftlike feel. Waterhouse seats 88 and holds 210 for receptions. A patio seats 22. (3407 North Paulina St., 773.871.1200)


Manor is a regally decorated, 4,200-square-foot club. Stone walls surround tufted leather banquettes, and specialty drinks are christened with manor-themed titles—try the Ashford. Stay, a separate-but-attached lounge, holds 150. (642 North Clark St., 312.475.1390)

A water wall greets guests as they enter this nightclub, which has slick wood furnishings and a curvaceous layout. Republic has three bars, two DJ booths, a large performance stage, and two dance floors. It holds 1,000. (1520 North Fremont St., 312.731.6200)

The former Chicago Historical Society building, built in 1892, has room for parties of 10 to 2,500. Excalibur can accommodate 300 on the first level, 89 on the balcony overlooking the dance floor, 135 in the penthouse, and 121 on the mezzanine. The venue has audiovisual capabilities, a production kitchen, and a billiard-and-arcade room. (632 North Dearborn, 312.266.1944)



service bars, an open-air upper deck, and space for 225. Its smaller twin vessel, Chicago’s Little Lady, has one bar and holds 100. The Lady Grebe holds six. (Michigan Ave. and Walker Drive, 847.358.1330)

company will rent out multiple boats for groups as large as 400. (600 East Grand Ave., 312.595.7437) SHORELINE SIGHTSEEING COMPANY

Offering boat tours since 1939, this company has a repertoire of architecture cruises, water taxis, and private charters. The boats, the largest of which holds 250, have boarding locations at Navy Pier, Willis Tower, and Shedd Aquarium. (474 North Lake Shore Drive, 312.222.9328) SPIRIT OF CHICAGO

With four decks, four bars, a piano lounge, and a crew of 20, the Kanan seats 300 or hold 400 for receptions. Rentals are available year-round, and a list of preferred vendors is available. (600 East Grand Ave., 312.222.0088)

This ship has three indoor decks (which hold 220, 212, and 140) and one of the largest patio decks in Chicago. The vessel includes full-service bars, two dance floors, and panoramic windows in indoor areas. Tours begin at Navy Pier and visit landmarks such as Soldier Field and the John Hancock Center. (600 East Grand Ave., 866.835.7245)



The 160-foot Mystic Blue—with three climate-controlled decks, two dance floors, and three bars—specializes in dinner, brunch, and moonlight cruises. The boat provides DJ entertainment and holds 600 people for private and corporate events. (600 East Grand Ave., 877.299.7783)

Docked at Navy Pier, this 148-foot ship has 11 sails and holds 150. The crew can put together teambuilding exercises for corporate groups. The boat’s sister ship, the Windy II, offers longer trips throughout the Great Lakes. (600 East Grand Ave., 312.595.5555)



The Odyssey II is the only ship in the city that can dock directly outside of McCormick Place. Groups can reserve one deck at a time (each holding about 200) or take over the entire ship for a 700-person event. (600 East Grand Ave., 866.305.2469)

Booked through Adventure Sea Tours, the 87-foot Valara VI holds 149 for cruises on Lake Michigan. The bilevel space has two bars with teak, oak, and cherrywood furnishings and a built-in stereo. (Burnham Harbor, 773.788.9494)


Wendella offers architecture, sightseeing, water-taxi service, and wine-tasting tours on its three boats. The Sunliner holds 60, the Ouilmette holds 160, and the Wendella holds 275 for private events on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan. (400 North Michigan Ave., 312.337.1446)


This four-boat fleet provides several itinerary options, from a tour of Chicago’s architecture and landmarks to a faster-paced speedboat lake tour. Seadog I, II, and III are each 70 feet and hold 125; Seadog IV holds 142. The


5= Venues that offer outdoor event space


This 19-room venue is near O’Hare International Airport. Thirteen of its meeting spaces can be combined to hold as many as 220, and smaller project rooms and boardrooms each seat 10. The conference center features the largest business bookstore in the Midwest. (8655 West Higgins Road, 773.693.5511) AVENUE BUSINESS CENTER

In the center of Chicago’s business district, this officesharing complex offers fully furnished offices, lounges that serve coffee and tea, and an art gallery selling work from local artists. Three conference rooms seat 12, eight, and six or can be combined to hold 30. (500 North Michigan Ave., Suite 300, 312.396.4000) CONFERENCE CENTER AT UBS TOWER

The 50-story UBS Tower offers more than 6,200 square feet of meeting space. The 3,200-square-foot Michigan Ballroom holds 325 for receptions or can be divided in half. Four smaller rooms named after the other Great Lakes are available for groups of as many as 85. (1 North Wacker Drive, 2nd Floor, 312.327.2369) DEPAUL UNIVERSITY—LINCOLN PARK CAMPUS5

The student center at DePaul’s Lincoln Park location offers three floors of event space, including a multipurpose room that holds 400 for receptions, several 36-seat meeting rooms, and a 200-seat conference room. Cortelyou Commons seats 150 and has a patio, or the quad can be rented. (2250 North Sheffield Ave., 773.325.7346) DEPAUL UNIVERSITY—LOOP CAMPUS5

About five miles from the Lincoln Park campus, DePaul’s Loop Student Center offers five areas for events on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center. A 30-seat conference room and the 65-seat DePaul Club have been updated with audiovisual capabilities. Other spaces include a 65-seat cafeteria as well as a lounge and a terrace. (1 East Jackson Blvd., Suite 8003, 312.362.8624) ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

One of I.T.T.’s four Chicago locations, the 120-acre main campus comprises several buildings designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Areas for events include the Hermann Union Building, which has an 836-seat auditorium and a main ballroom that seats 300. The nearby McCormick Tribune Campus Center has a 165-seat auditorium, a ballroom that can hold 200, and a 16-seat conference room. (3300 South Federal St., 312.567.3076) INTERNATIONAL HOUSE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

The assembly hall at this venue—part of the university since 1932—holds 500 people. Air-conditioning is now available. The Home Room seats 72 and the National Room seats 60 for banquets; the two are connected by a small foyer. The Coulter Lounge can seat as many as 50. (1414 East 59th St., 773.753.2270) LADD ARBORETUM AND ECOLOGY CENTER5

Along the North Shore Channel, this arboretum was planted by local citizens who wanted to preserve the land’s natural beauty. A 1,800-square-foot multipurpose room with a wood-burning fireplace, a vaulted ceiling, and exposed wooden beams holds 112. (2024 McCormick Blvd., Evanston, 847.448.8256)

are available for events, including the 300-seat Rambler Room in the student union, the 216-seat auditorium in the Crown Center, and the Gentile Center, which holds as many as 5,000. (6525 North Sheridan Road, 773.508.8069) LOYOLA UNIVERSITY—WATER TOWER CAMPUS


Loyola’s downtown campus has several available spaces for rent, including a 200-seat auditorium at the Law Center, a 100-person ballroom at Lewis Tower, and space for 200 at Kasbeer Hall. The school’s Museum of Art has a multipurpose room that can seat 65. All rentals are arranged through the main campus’s conference services department. (820 North Michigan Ave., 773.508.8069)

River North’s Workspring, which opened in 2008, offers five private work studios that can be rented for four-hour morning and afternoon sessions or three-hour evening sessions. Ranging from 190 square feet to 660 square feet, the spaces feature in-room luggage storage and courtyard views. Common areas include a café with a menu of coffee and snacks and a forum. (12 East Ohio St., 877.824.1441)


This 35,000-square-foot venue is near O’Hare Airport. The center has 15,000 square feet of column-free space for trade shows or other large events, as well as several breakout rooms and a boardroom for 12. The 16th-floor Skyline Ballroom seats 200. (401 West Lake St., Northlake, 708.409.2828) NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY—HOFFMAN ESTATES

The N.I.U. Hoffman Estates campus, 30 minutes outside of Chicago, is available for events during the day. The campus has 17 meeting rooms ranging from 300 to 3,000 square feet, two computer labs, and a 250-seat auditorium. Audiovisual and videoconferencing technology are available. (5555 Trillium Blvd., Hoffman Estates, 847.645.3000) NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY—NAPERVILLE

This branch of Northern Illinois University is 27 miles from O’Hare and Midway airports and offers 23 meeting rooms for daytime events. The center has a 3,750-squarefoot special events room that can hold 400, as well as a 180-seat auditorium. The venue’s sun-filled atrium is available for receptions. (1120 East Diehl Road, Naperville, 630.577.9101) Q CENTER5

The Q Center,the largest conference facility in the Chicago area, has 118 meeting rooms, a 19,000-square-foot ballroom that seats 2,000, and 1,042 guest rooms. Its 96 acres of wooded grounds include a 4,500-square-foot fitness center, outdoor sports courts, a game room, and five dining areas. Staffers are on hand to create teambuilding programs for corporate groups. (1405 North Fifth Ave., St. Charles, 630.377.3100) SUMMIT EXECUTIVE CENTER

This downtown conference center has 15 meeting rooms, the largest of which holds 95. The flexible floor plan allows groups to combine several rooms to hold 250 in a theater setup, or smaller rooms hold 10 for more intimate meetings. A lounge, a reception area, catering service, and a business center are on site. (205 North Michigan Ave., 10th Floor, 312.938.2000) UNIVERSITY CENTER5

This downtown venue, a partnership of Columbia College and DePaul and Robert Morris and Roosevelt universities, has 11 meeting rooms. Spaces include a 20-seat boardroom, several larger conference spaces, and a 60-seat private dining room. The Great Room features a stone fireplace, couches, and armchairs to hold 80 for receptions, or it can be combined with a terrace to hold 350. Lodging is available. (525 South State St., 877-482-2463)



The main Chicago campus of Loyola University sits on the shore of Lake Michigan. Several areas of the campus

This 50,000-square-foot venue has 41 meeting rooms, including a 100-seat lecture hall, 70-seat executive meet-


The comedy troupe that performs at this theater is known for its outrageous and salacious humor and shows, including a raucous remake of The Brady Bunch. The black-box theater, complete with cabaret tables, seats 60 or holds 100 for receptions. It offers customized improv shows. (4830 North Broadway, 773.561.4665) COMEDYSPORTZ THEATRE

The popular improv group ComedySportz entertains audiences at this theater with interactive comedy, music, and dancing. Open since 2008, the theater holds 149 for performances and specializes in teambuilding and corporate training events. (929 West Belmont Ave., 773.549.8080) I.O. THEATER

Formerly known as ImprovOlympic, this Wrigleyville comedy venue specializes in long-form improv sketches


At 840,000 square feet, this convention center’s six separate halls can be combined to hold 3,566 booths. The adjoining 92,000-square-foot conference center offers 50 meeting rooms. Rosemont Catering is the exclusive provider for both spaces. The complex is connected to four hotels by a pedestrian walkway. (5555 North River Road, Rosemont, 847.692.2222) DUPAGE EXPO

About 40 miles west of Chicago, this 23,000-squarefoot column-free expo center holds 1,500 and has a 1,500-square-foot café. The venue is part of the 300-acre Pheasant Run Resort and Spa, which provides an additional 125,000 square feet of event space and 473 guest rooms. (4050 East Main St., St. Charles, 866.239.3976) MCCORMICK PLACE

McCormick Place comprises four buildings for a total of 2.6 million square feet. The venue has 173 meeting rooms, four ballrooms ranging in size from 21,000 to 100,000 square feet, 13 restaurants, and three theaters, including the 4,249-seat Arie Crown. Construction on the 820,000square-foot McCormick Place West was completed in 2007. (2301 South Lake Shore Drive, 312.791.7000) NAVY PIER5

Navy Pier’s main exhibition space, Festival Hall, has two rooms that can be combined to hold 900 booths in 170,000 square feet. The pier also has 44,000 square feet of meeting space, split into 36 rooms. The 18,150-squarefoot ballroom boasts an 80-foot domed ceiling and panoramic views of Lake Michigan. Several terraces and a tentable rooftop space are also available. (600 East Grand Ave., 312.595.5300) ODEUM EXPO CENTER

In eastern DuPage County, this 130,000-square-foot facility is five miles from O’Hare Airport. The entire space can seat 5,500 or hold more than 600 trade-show booths. The venue also serves as a sporting facility, with three soccer fields and seating for 3,500. M.G. Concessions is the exclusive caterer. (1033 North Villa Ave., Villa Park, 630.941.9292) IN THE WORKS TINLEY PARK CONVENTION CENTER

In April 2009, the Tinley Park Convention Center broke ground on a $19 million renovation that will double its current size by May 2011. The overhaul will add 24,000 square feet of clear-span exhibit space and 9,000 square feet of meeting space. New amenities will include a builtin concession stand, Wi-Fi, additional loading docks, a full-service business center, and an additional 450 parking spots. (18500 South Harlem Ave., 708.444.1100) known for its improv troupes. Three theaters each have a piano, a stage, and sound and lighting systems. The Second City main stage seats 320. The Second City E.T.C. Theatre seats 190, and Donny’s Skybox Studio Theatre and two additional venues in the Piper’s Alley complex are available. (1616 North Wells St., 1608 North Wells St.; 312.664.4032)

Entertainment & Performance Spaces COMEDY CLUBS

ing rooms, 80-seat dining rooms, and 18-seat boardrooms. The fifth-floor Midway Club offers spaces for as many as 16 and has a billiard room. (450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive, 312.464.8787)


that usually run about a half hour. The upstairs Del Close Theater seats 125, and the smaller cabaret-style theater used for improv shows seats 100. Two full bars are also available for events. Bread & Butter is the preferred caterer, but outside vendors are welcome. (3541 North Clark St., 773.880.0199) JOKES AND NOTES

This club in Bronzeville features a mix of AfricanAmerican comedy and live jazz performers, with a little spoken word thrown in for good measure. The club seats 150 and is available for special events on Monday and Tuesday evenings. (4641 South King Drive, 773.373.3390)

Signed photos of famous past performers—including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and Craig Ferguson—cover the walls of this Old Town comedy club. The venue is the original of four Zanies clubs (in Illinois and Nashville). It holds 100 for receptions or seats 100 at cabaret tables. (1548 North Wells St., 312.337.4027)


Formerly a 1950s pub for the newspaper set, Andy’s has morphed into one of Chicago’s most beloved and respected jazz clubs. It features some of the city’s best live jazz seven days a week and blues on special weekends. Andy’s holds 150 for receptions. Off-site caterers are welcome. (11 East Hubbard St., 312.642.6805)



One of the more famous comedy theaters in the country, the Second City opened in 1959. The two-tier cabaret-style venue is

Our comprehensive, searchable directory of event spaces


This historic Moorish-style venue opened in 1926 and is a popular spot for concerts, boxing and wrestling matches, dances, and more. The 18,000-square-foot, 4,500seat space holds 1,000 for dinners. Groups summer 2010 65

Chicago Venue Directory

Entertainment & Performance Spaces can also access the 7,500-square-foot balcony. (1106 West Lawrence Ave., 773.561.9500, ext. 101) BLUE CHICAGO

Legends and newcomers play the blues at this River North spot, which prominently features female singers. Vintage blues playbills and original oil paintings adorn the redbrick walls in the ’20s-style club, which opened in 1985. Blue Chicago holds 200 for receptions in its main room. (736 North Clark St., 312.642.6261) BUDDY GUY’S LEGENDS

In 1989, blues icon Buddy Guy opened what has become one of the country’s top blues venues. The dimly lit club is full of memorabilia, including a collection of guitars from such music greats as B.B. King. The club seats 120 or holds 400 for receptions and offers a menu of Southern and Cajun soul food. (700 South Wabash Ave., 312.427.1190)

Sinatra’s friend and former manager. The one-room space holds 100 for receptions and has an island-style bar in its center. (1007 North Rush St., 312.664.1001) JOE’S SPORTS BAR5

In a 20,000-square-foot warehouse-style venue, this live music club brings in both national and local artists to perform—mainly rock and R&B—and has more than 120 TVs. The main room has a large dance floor and three bars; it seats 300 or holds 800 for receptions. The V.I.P. loft, with leather booths and a granite bar, holds 70, and the Red Room lounge holds about 180. The 6,100-square-foot beer garden, one of the largest patios in Chicago, seats 150 or holds 250 for receptions. (940 West Weed St., 312.337.3486) KINGSTON MINES

One of the oldest and largest blues clubs in the city, Kingston Mines opened in 1968. Each of its two rooms has a stage and features different performers. With its brick floors, vivid murals, and casual atmosphere, Kingston Mines is reminiscent of a classic ’60s blues club. It seats 400 or holds 500 for receptions. The club also offers offsite “blues parties” complete with entertainment and food. (2548 North Halsted St., 773.477.4646)

197 and 61 and a café-gallery that seats 100 or holds 200 for receptions. The theaters offer digital, high-definition, video, film, slides, and overhead projection, along with great acoustics and a P.A. system. (164 North State St., 312.846.2800) NEW GOLD CLASS CINEMAS

Gold Class Cinemas opened a new location in November 2009. The venue’s eight 40-seat theaters can be rented individually or combined to host larger groups. Within each theater, hosts can present current feature films or corporate videos. Servers deliver restaurant-style entrées to recliners with built-in tabletops and can also provide passed appetizers and bottles of wine and champagne. The entire structure can hold 288. (619 East Boughton Road, Bolingbrook, 630.378.8034) MUVICO THEATERS ROSEMONT 18

This theater complex, which opened in 2007, is the first to show high-definition movies using Sony Premier 4k digital cinema projectors. The 110,000-square-foot complex seats 4,000, with 500 premier seats. Individual theaters hold between 121 and 345, and several smaller meeting areas hold as many as 75. (9701 Bryn Mawr Ave., 847.447.1030)



Also known as CU2, this lounge is billed as the only live smooth-jazz club in Chicago. Top local and national artists fuse jazz with R&B and pop. The loftlike venue is long and narrow, with exposed brick walls, porcelain floors, granite tabletops, and Art Deco and contemporary furnishings. The club seats 100 or holds 350 for receptions, and a V.I.P. area holds 50. (416 South Clark St., 312.385.1111)

This cabaret lounge and restaurant features the Kit Kat Divas, who perform dressed as Hollywood icons. Kit Kat serves Asian-inspired fare and offers more than 100 martinis and 25 margaritas. The interior has white banquettes with leopard- and snakeskin-print upholstery, large circular mirrors, and stone tables. The main dining room holds 100, a semiprivate area holds 40, and a terrace holds 60. (3700 North Halsted St., 773.525.1111)




Soon after opening in 1982, this music venue took off when a then little-known band called R.E.M. played its stage. Since then, it’s become a haven for alternativerock bands from Nirvana to the White Stripes. The main area seats 300 or holds 1,100 for receptions, and catering is available from nearby restaurants. Staff, lighting, and sound are provided for all rentals. A private balcony holds 150. Metro’s downstairs nightclub, SmartBar, holds 400. (3730 North Clark St., 773.549.0203)

The 1920 Portage Theater, one of the oldest movie houses in Chicago, is a 1,938-seat venue that reopened in 2006 after a five-year renovation and restoration. It now specializes in classic, silent, and independent films and hosts the Chicago Silent Film Festival. The single-screen theater can show 35- or 16-millimeter film and DVD projection and is available for private events. (4050 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.736.4050)



Martinis and Elton John tunes reign supreme at this sophisticated piano bar. A tuxedo-wearing doorman welcomes guests into the lounge-style bar, where a cherrywood piano takes center stage and the burgundy walls are adorned with vintage sheet music. The Redhead seats 100 or holds 200 for receptions. Additional space will be available this summer. (16 West Ontario St., 312.640.1000)



The Double Door has planted itself in the annals of Chicago’s live music scene. The venue focuses on rock— hosting local up-and-comers as well as established bands—but Latin, hip-hop, and alternative country artists also appear. The club seats 300 or holds 550 for receptions. The basement is also available for events and holds 75. All rentals include sound equipment and staffing. (1572 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.489.3160) ELBO ROOM

Named for its elbow shape, this former factory is now a popular Chicago music mainstay. All types of sounds stream from its stage, including rock, alternative, reggae, and ska. The upstairs bar is relaxed, with intimate cocktail tables, while the larger lower level holds a bigger bar and a dark, spacious performance area. The Elbo Room can host private events for 50 or more. (2871 North Lincoln Ave., 773.549.5549) EMPTY BOTTLE

In Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, this unassuming club features some of the top alternative and experimental rock and jazz acts. The interior is dark and vibrant, with concert posters hanging on the walls and Christmas lights dangling overhead. The club seats 150 or holds 400 for receptions. (1035 North Western Ave., 773.276.3600) FITZGERALD’S5

This club was the site of the roadhouse scene in the film A League of Their Own. Built in the 1920s, it started as a hunting club and now features live music in a tavern environment. Fitzgerald’s seats 50 or holds 300 for receptions. There’s also a private room that holds 80 and a garden courtyard that holds 75. (6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, 708.788.2118) GREEN DOLPHIN STREET5

This venue is part jazz club, part restaurant. The club area has a candlelit interior with red curtains and a floor-toceiling liquor cabinet. The dining room has wood paneling and exposed brick walls. The club features a variety of music, from big band to Latin jazz, and seats 250 or holds 600 for receptions. The dining room seats 120, and the wine room seats 20. A 150-seat year-round garden with an atrium is closed off and heated in the winter. (2200 North Ashland Ave., 773.395.0066)


This rock venue opened in 2007. Exposed brick and graffiti by local Chicago artists give the place an industrial feel. The main room holds 300 while the semiprivate balcony holds 80. Catering is available from Reggies Music Joint, the rock ’n’ roll-themed grill next door. The club also offers an 80-passenger vintage school bus for transportation to and from events. (2109 South State St., 312.949.0121) ROSA’S LOUNGE

An Italian immigrant founded this family-owned and -operated blues club and named it after his mother and co-owner, Rosa. It attracts all types of performers, from traditional artists like David Honeyboy Edwards to more contemporary ones like Grammy winner Sugar Blue. The club seats 90 or holds 100 for receptions in its one large, long room. (3420 West Armitage Ave., 773.342.0452) UNDERGROUND WONDER BAR

The immense IMAX theater at Navy Pier has a 440-seat auditorium that features a six-story-high 3-D film screen surrounded by wood accents. Two lobbies are available for receptions; the larger holds 100 while the other holds 60. The theater also partners with Crystal Gardens—a oneacre glass-covered botanical garden that holds 1,200—for private functions. (700 East Grand Ave., 312.595.5998)

The Apollo Theater in Lincoln Park is known for its performances of popular comedies, musicals, and children’s shows. The glass-and-concrete venue seats 440 in rows that surround the stage on three sides, affording all audience members an up-close view of the action. Other event spaces include the lobby, which holds 200 and has a full bar, and a 50-seat studio with a small stage. (2540 North Lincoln Ave., 773.935.9336) ARIE CROWN THEATER

In the Lakeside Building of the McCormick Place convention center, the Arie Crown Theater has one of the largest stages in the city (with a depth of more than 58 feet). In 1997, it underwent a $7 million renovation. It seats 4,249, and has 11 dressing rooms and several rehearsal rooms. (2301 South Lake Shore Drive, 312.791.6190) AUDITORIUM THEATRE OF ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY

Ornate 24-karat gold-leafed arches, murals, and intricate wall mosaics give this landmark theater in the Loop the Old World elegance. The venue is home to the renowned Joffrey Ballet and hosts everything from Broadway musicals to solo performances. Its four levels seat a total of 3,929. The main floor can seat 1,400. (50 East Congress Pkwy., 312.922.2110)

This Gold Coast venue features live music 365 days a year. Although it’s billed as a blues and jazz club, guests can also hear reggae, funk, folk, and even acoustic guitar. Red lights, mirrored walls, and a mural of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” reign over the stage’s baby grand. Underground is available for small group parties and holds 70. (10 East Walton St., 312.266.7761)





In a town better known for its blues and jazz, Hideout is a country music spot with some punk rock thrown in. The spacious venue has a friendly, tavern feel and seats 75 or holds 150 for receptions. A patio holds 50. (1354 West Wabansia Ave., 773.227.4433)

This Afro-Caribbean music club decorated with palm trees and vibrant reds, golds, and greens is known for showcasing locally, nationally, and internationally respected roots reggae. A second-floor room with a private bar overlooking the stage is available for events and holds 200. The Wild Hare offers a catering menu of Caribbean food. (3530 North Clark St., 773.327.0868)

Broadway in Chicago—the company that operates the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Oriental Theatre, and the Bank of America Theatre—plans to open the Broadway Playhouse in September 2010. Located in the space formerly occupied by the Drury Lane Water Tower, the theater is slated to have 550 seats. (175 East Chestnut St., 312.977.1700)


The 55,000-square-foot venue is adjacent to the new Hotel Sax and features 12 private opera boxes and three levels of viewing. The music hall holds 1,000. The venue’s restaurant seats 250 or holds 400 for receptions, or the entire space can be rented for 1,800. (329 North Dearborn St., 312.923.2015) HOWL AT THE MOON5

This rowdy River North piano bar and restaurant is part of a nationwide chain of 14 that started in Cincinnati. Rock musicians take the stage to duel on a pair of matching baby grand pianos—and singing along is encouraged. The brick and dark wood saloon is available for private parties Sunday through Thursday and for semiprivate events every day. It seats 200 or holds 400 for receptions; a patio overlooking Hubbard Street seats 20. (26 West Hubbard St., 312.863.7427) JILLY’S PIANO BAR

Voted the top local spot for celebrity sightings by Fox News Chicago, this classic piano-and-martini bar pays homage to all things Sinatra. It is named after Jilly Rizzo,

66 summer 2010

Previously known as the LaSalle Bank Theatre, this 2,016seat space is a monument to early vaudeville. It opened in 1906 as the Majestic Theatre and was Chicago’s tallest building. The stage is available for events and seats 120 or holds 300 for receptions. The grand lobby holds 2,000 for receptions. (18 West Monroe St., 312.902.1400)



AMC Entertainment merged with Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp., and now the company has 19 theaters in and around Chicago. CineMeetings & Events books private functions at the theaters and provides catering, sound systems, promotional tools, and audiovisual equipment. The comples has 21 auditoriums—the largest of which seats 414—with stadium-style seating. (AMC River East 21, 322 East Illinois St., 312.596.0333; CineMeetings & Events: 888.327.6338) GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER

The Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a modern facility that hosts about 1,500 screenings per year. Originally called the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, it was renamed after the death of the renowned film critic. The center contains two movie theaters that seat

Designed by the Rapp Brothers, this 1926 theater has rose-marbled walls, crystal chandeliers, gold ornamental plaster, and immense mirrors that evoke Versailles and Fontainebleau. It seats 2,344. The grand foyer holds 800 while the Dress Circle and Cadillac Room hold 150 and 125, respectively. All three levels can be combined to hold 1,200 for receptions. (151 West Randolph St., 312.977.1700) CHICAGO CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS5

This multivenue entertainment complex has a new interior with low ceilings, brick walls, and two Art Deco lobbies with bars. The main Green Street Theater seats 340; the WestTown Studio Theater seats 140; and Sevens Cabaret, a smaller theater for comedy and musical acts, seats 110. (777 North Green St., 312.733.6000) CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

This $24-million facility on Navy Pier has two separate performance spaces: the 500-seat Jentes Family Auditorium and the 200-seat Carl and Marilynn Thoma

Theater. In the lobby is the English Pub, a full-service bar that is open for pre- and post-show gatherings. (800 East Grand Ave., 312.595.5656) CHICAGO THEATRE

Although it now specializes in live performances, the Chicago Theatre was the first large, lavish movie palace in America when it opened in 1921. The French Baroque venue features a six-story replica of the Arc de Triomphe above its marquee. The 3,553-seat auditorium is seven stories high, adorned with murals on the ceiling. The main-floor lobby holds 250 while the mezzanine lobby holds 200. (175 North State St., 312.462.6300) CIVIC OPERA HOUSE

In the center of downtown Chicago, the Civic Opera House was built in 1929 and is the second-largest opera auditorium in North America. The venue features a blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. The Ardis Krainik Theatre seats 3,600, and three other rooms are available for groups of 75 to 700. Two new restaurants—both offering fare from Jewell Events Catering—opened in September 2009. (20 North Wacker Drive, 312.419.0033) DRURY LANE THEATRE WATER TOWER PLACE

This 10,000-square-foot movie theater turned live theater is in the center of the Magnificent Mile. It seats 549 in plush, stadium-style seating, with Strauss crystal chandeliers hanging above. The lobby holds 300 for receptions, but no prep kitchen is available. (175 East Chestnut St., 312.642.2000) FORD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Originally a fashionable movie palace from the 1920s called the Oriental, this Far East-inspired theater fell into disrepair in the ’70s. The building was restored in 1997, and its ornate designs and gold-leaf details have been restored. The theater seats 2,253. When combined, its four lobbies can seat 440 or hold 900 for receptions. (24 West Randolph St., 312.977.1700) GOODMAN THEATRE

Founded in 1925, the Goodman is Chicago’s oldest nonprofit theater. A 73-foot red marquee marks the entrance. There are two theaters: The traditional Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre seats 856, and the modern Owen Bruner Goodman Theatre seats 467. The mezzanine and lobby spaces seat 150 or hold 500 for receptions. (170 North Dearborn St., 312.443.3800) HARRIS THEATER FOR MUSIC AND DANCE

This 1,525-seat downtown venue is nestled in Millennium Park. Its towering glass lobbies provide a grand welcome


Formerly the Fitzpatrick, this boutique hotel completed a $25 million renovation in April 2008. The project updated the hotel’s 215 guest rooms, 3,000 square feet of event space, and rooftop bar. Affinia Chicago is also home to chef Marcus Samuelsson’s C-House restaurant. (166 East Superior St., 312.787.6000) ALLERTON HOTEL CHICAGO

On Michigan Avenue since the 1920s, the Allerton has 443 guest rooms, including 84 suites. The 23rd floor Renaissance Ballroom offers 3,424 square feet of divisible event space and a panoramic view of the skyline. On the third floor, the Buckingham Ballroom features large picture windows. Nine meeting rooms are also available. (701 North Michigan Ave., 312.440.1500) ALOFT CHICAGO O’HARE

This hotel opened in July 2008 less than two miles from its namesake airport. The Starwood property offers 24-hour shuttle service to and from the terminal and surrounding offices and restaurants. There are 251 guest rooms, two meeting rooms, and a lounge area that opens out onto a patio (9700 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont, 847.671.4444) AMALFI HOTEL CHICAGO

This contemporary luxury hotel in the River North district has 215 rooms and five suites. Named for Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the property has decor reminiscent of its namesake, with imported mosaic tiles and warm colors. The 848-square-foot Capri is the largest of four rooms available for events. (20 West Kinzie St., 312.361.0674) AMBASSADOR EAST HOTEL

This historic Gold Coast landmark features architecture dating from 1926 and offers 285 guest rooms and 11 meeting rooms. The hotel also serves as home to the Pump Room restaurant. Byfield’s Lounge, on the lobby level, is 1,450 square feet and holds 153 for receptions. (1301 North State Pkwy., 312.787.7200) AVENUE HOTEL CHICAGO5

This hotel is half a block from the Magnificent Mile. Its 18,000 square feet of space includes the 3,000-squarefoot Grand Avenue Ballroom, which holds 220; the 714-square-foot Lexington Avenue Room, which seats 55 theater-style; and the 40th-floor Sky Lounge, which offers breakfast service, tapas, a full bar, and panoramic views of the skyline and lake. (160 East Huron St., 877.283.5110)

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space

to the modern facility for the performing arts. Four lobbies each seat 120 or hold 200 for receptions. The Donor Room seats 60 or holds 80 for receptions. In-house sound and lighting systems are included with rentals. (205 East Randolph Drive, 312.334.7777) NEW MAYNE STAGE

In June 2010, Mayne Stage opened in the site of a former vaudeville theater in Rogers Park. Available for buyout, the venue has a 299-seat auditorium with cinema and broadcasting capabilities. For private events, an on-site talent booker can bring in comedians, musicians, or psychics. An adjacent eatery, the Act One Café, serves internationally influenced comfort food, and can seat 80 for private dinners. (1328 West Morse Ave., 773.381.4554) MUSIC INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

This community music school is in a former church designed by architect Solon S. Berman in 1912. The 500-seat Nichols Concert Hall holds 50 on its 20- by 40-foot stage and has enhanced lighting, sound, and recording capabilities. The lobby seats 100 or holds 150 for receptions. Instruments such as a Steinway grand piano and a Skinner pipe organ can be reserved for events. (1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847.905.1500)


Known as Chicago’s“Sound of Summer,” this music venue has been around since 1904. Four tented areas—the Northern Trust Tent, the Santa Fe Tent, the AT&T Tent, and the UBS Tent—can accommodate 70 to 700 guests. The lawn holds 500, and the Park View Restaurant and terrace can hold 183. Levy Restaurants is the exclusive on-site caterer. (418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, 847.266.5100) REDMOON THEATER

Although this theater’s well-known, inventive troupe prefers to perform its actor- and puppet-based shows in public parks and streets, it does maintain an actual theater. The ink factory turned performance space is a raw area that can be completely transformed for a particular show or event. It holds 250, and catering is available. (1463 West Hubbard St., 312.850.8440) ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE CENTER

This Lincoln Park complex houses four theaters. The Broadway-style main stage seats 450, the cabaret seats 190, the gallery seats 60, and the new great room, with a barlike feel, seats 100. The trilevel Landmark Grill and Lounge, also in the building, seats 200 or holds 500 for receptions. (1641 North Halsted St., 312.988.9000)



This Old Town theater stabled coach and riding horses after its construction in 1872 and acted as a riding academy during the 1980s and ’90s. Now it features equestrian shows that take their cues from the riding shows of the Old World. The arena seats 300 for events, and a private party room holds 30. (1410 North Orleans St., 312.266.7878)

This center has been home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since it opened in 1904. It is now an immense complex decorated in the Georgian style (with pink brick, white limestone, and lintels). Numerous rooms are available for rent; combined, they seat 1,200 or hold 2,500 for receptions. The largest room, Buntrock Hall, holds 575, while the Grainger Ballroom seats 210 or holds 400 for receptions. A ninth-floor terrace holds 175. (220 South Michigan Ave., 312. 294.3260)


Forty miles west of Chicago, this dramatic Art Deco-style theater opened in 1931. Since a restoration in the late ’70s, it has become a popular live music and concert venue and is the home of the Fox Valley Symphony. The theater seats 1,888. The bilevel grand gallery lobby seats 370 or holds 450 for receptions. Four other spaces, including a plaza, hold as many as 350. (23 East Galena Blvd., Aurora, 630.896.6666)


The Vic opened in 1912 as the Victoria Theatre,a lavish fivestory vaudeville venue. It now acts as a concert hall and movie theater. The lobby floor and staircases are made of Italian marble. The theater seats 1,000 or holds 1,300 for receptions. (3145 North Sheffield Ave., 312.440.9191)



Since opening in the ‘20s, this historic Lincoln Park facility has been a vaudeville theater, a movie house, and a nightclub. It’s now a popular midsize concert venue with high ceilings and a modern design. The space includes five tiers, large balconies, café tables, booths, and seven bars. The theater seats 700. It can hold 900 for receptions. (322 West Armitage Ave., 773.929.1322)

Founded in 1974,this theater comprises four areas that can be rented for events. The Mainstage Theater has 299 seats, two dressing rooms, and a greenroom. An upstairs studio, currently under construction, seats 119. The 800-squarefoot theater lobby holds 150, and a 1,400-square-foot rehearsal and event room holds 200. (2433 North Lincoln Ave., 773.549.5788 ext. 2135)



After a $128 million restoration, the former Blackstone Hotel reopened as the Blackstone, a Renaissance hotel, in March 2008. The gilded French-walnut lobby of this 332-room hotel features fully restored plaster embellishments and a video-art display that adds to the 1,600 contemporary works by local artists showcased throughout the space. A total of 19,000 square feet of event space is available. (636 South Michigan Ave., 312.447.0955)

This hotel opened under its current name in 2005 but is in the landmarked 1928 McGraw-Hill Building. A planned renovation project will update the 311 guest rooms in the 12-floor hotel. More than 12,000 square feet of event space is available, including the 3,360-square-foot Magnolia Ballroom. For outdoor events, the grand terrace suite and the Terrace at Conrad are available. (521 North Rush St., 312.645.1500)



This boutique hotel was built in 1928 and acquired the adjoining Plaza Hotel in 2000. There are 153 rooms and four meeting spaces, all with audiovisual capabilities: The 2,500-square-foot grand ballroom seats 200, the 1,200square-foot Foxboro Room holds 100, the 900-squarefoot Columbian Room holds 70, and the 625-square-foot Barclay Room holds 30. There are also two restaurants. (1110 Pleasant St., Oak Park, 708.848.5000)

Near the United Center, this downtown hotel offers 7,204 square feet of event space with nine meeting rooms; the largest holds 400 for receptions, and the smallest is a 12-seat boardroom. The restaurants Dine and MetroKlub are on the lobby level. (733 West Madison St., 312.829.5000) DANA HOTEL AND SPA

One block from the University of Illinois, this hotel has seven meeting spaces and nine breakout rooms—4,812 square feet in all—that hold between 10 and 250 people. The largest space is the 2,160-square-foot ballroom, which holds 250. The Rook’s Corner restaurant holds 150 while its terrace holds 50. Every meeting room has wireless Internet, and the hotel provides catering. (625 South Ashland Ave., 312.491.1234)

This luxury hotel opened in June 2008 with 216 guest rooms on 26 floors. Meeting space includes a 1,200-squarefoot main room that holds 100, a boardroom that holds 14, and two conference rooms that hold 10 each. Also on site are Ajasteak, an Asian steak house and sushi bar that seats 110, and a spa. In early 2010, the Dana Hotel introduced its Ice Bar, which will now be open every year from January until early March. Ice Bar has a 10-foot bar made of 3,000 pounds of solid ice, and can host receptions for 75. (660 North State St., 888.301.7952)



Open since February 2009, this 46-floor, 1,173-room hotel is within walking distance of Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, and Millennium Park. The hotel has 57 meeting rooms with 90,000-square-feet of function space. The largest space is the 19,193-square-foot Grand Ballroom, which seats as many as 2,200. Other amenities include a health club with an indoor pool and the in-house restaurant, Harvest. (540 North Michigan Ave., 312.836.0100)

This Hilton hotel, one mile from O’Hare International Airport, is connected to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center by a sky bridge. It offers 360 guest rooms and nine suites. The main level and the mezzanine are dedicated to function space, with 13 meeting rooms available. The 3,920-square-foot Signature, on the main level, can be divided into two rooms. (5460 North River Road, Rosemont, 847.292.9100)



This two-story boutique hotel east of O’Hare International Airport has 116 guest rooms. Event spaces include a 5,985-square-foot banquet hall with chandeliers and carpeting, a 285-square-foot boardroom that seats 10, and the 570-square-foot Kennedy meeting room. (8201 West Higgins Road, 773.693.2323)

Antique crystal chandeliers hang from the high ceilings of this hotel, which features 1920s architecture. The 19 meeting rooms that make up its 30,000 square feet of event space are scattered between the main level and the upper mezzanine. The 6,700-square-foot Gold Coast banquet room overlooks Lake Michigan, includes two rows of ornate gold columns, and holds 900 for receptions. (140 East Walton Place, 312.787.2200)



The two towers of this hotel include 851 guest rooms and 23 meeting spaces. Among the several ballrooms are the Gold Room, the Florentine Room, and the Great Hall. The Italian Renaissance-style Gold Room seats 250 and features a ceiling mural and gold-leafed ornamentation. (520 South Michigan Ave., 312.427.3800)


Luxury hotel the Elysian opened in the Gold Coast in December 2009. On the second floor, the 34-seat Bernard’s channels an old-fashioned gentleman’s club. The third floor houses two restaurants: Balsan and Ria, The former, summer 2010 67

Chicago Venue Directory

Hotels a more causal eatery, offers a private-dining room for 34. At Ria, the menu focuses on global dishes and a private dining room seats 12. On the fifth floor, function spaces include the Sinclair Ballroom, which can host receptions for 270. The Fitzgerald Boardroom can accommodate meetings for 12, and the Hemingway Salon can hold receptions for 100. (11 East Walton St., 312.646.1300) EMBASSY SUITES CHICAGO

This 359-room hotel has 6,000 square feet of meeting space that includes the elegant North Silver Ballroom, which holds 300. Two 16-seat executive boardrooms and four 800-square-foot conference rooms are available. A 10-story tropical atrium with a waterfall holds 220. (600 North State St., 312.943.3800) EMBASSY SUITES HOTEL O’HARE ROSEMONT

A member of the Hilton family of hotels, this eight-story property was designed in the Prairie School style of Frank Lloyd Wright and features a garden atrium with tiered indoor balconies overlooking potted plants. It offers 30 function rooms and 18,000 square feet of event space, including a 5,100-square-foot divisible ballroom that can hold 350. The hotel has 293 suites. (5500 North River Road, Rosemont, 847.678.4000) FAIRMONT CHICAGO

Near Grant and Millennium parks, this 687-room Fairmont hotel occupies 45 floors and offers 14 function rooms for meetings and events. Of these, the largest is the Imperial Ballroom, which is 16,100 square feet and holds 2,000 people. (200 North Columbus Drive, 312.565.8000) FOUR SEASONS CHICAGO

A multiphase renovation to overhaul the hotel’s lobby, guest rooms, corridors, and event spaces is under way. The revamped lobby debuted in 2007, complete with new furniture, and the guest rooms were finished in April 2008. Work on the grand ballroom, which holds 900 for receptions, is currently in progress. The hotel offers 13 other meeting spaces, including five boardrooms. (120 East Delaware Place, 312.280.8800) HAMPTON MAJESTIC CHICAGO THEATER DISTRICT

The autumnal color scheme of rust, orange, and brown is unusual in Hampton hotels but can be found throughout this 135-room property. Open since 2007 in the landmark Majestic Office Building, it sits atop the LaSalle Bank Theatre, with which it shares a banquet room that holds 60 for receptions. (22 West Monroe St., 312.332.5052) HARD ROCK HOTEL

has existed. There are 452 guest rooms and 31 suites. The 3,400-square-foot Historic Walnut Room is the largest of 16 meeting spaces and features eight nickel-plated Art Deco chandeliers. (171 West Randolph St., 312.236.0123)

square feet of event space. The largest, the Buckingham Room, is 2,000 square feet and holds 200 for receptions. The Skyline Terrace on the 22nd floor holds 100 for outdoor receptions. (162 East Ohio St., 312.787.3100)



Naperville’s first luxury boutique hotel opened in 2008. Chicago architect Dirk Lohan designed the property, decking its interior with travertine floors and an illuminated onyx check-in desk. The hotel has 144 guest rooms, a casual fine-dining spot called SugarToad, and 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space. A spa opened in July 2009. (2139 Citygate Lane, Naperville, 630.579.4100)

This 790-room hotel has retained its original 1920s design. Its 42,000 square feet of event space includes 30 flexible meeting rooms and six ballrooms, the largest of which holds 700 among marble, Greek-style columns and a six-ton Baccarat crystal chandelier. Also on site are a 24-hour fitness center, a business center, a restaurant, a 50-seat wine tasting room, and a 1920s-style bar. (505 North Michigan Ave., 312.944.4100)


This boutique hotel in Printers Row is in the restored 19th-century Morton Salt Building. Its lobby features red leather furniture with dark brown and white accents. The 12-story hotel has 162 guest rooms, six of which are suites. It also has three meeting rooms, including the 1,170square-foot Burnham Room, which holds 65 for banquets. (500 South Dearborn St., 312.986.1234) HOTEL BURNHAM

Named for and designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, this steel-and-glass European-style Kimpton hotel is in the landmarked Reliance Building. The 14-floor 122-room hotel features red marble walls, mosaic-tile floors, and a two-story mural depicting the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The 450-square-foot Reliance Room holds 40 for receptions. (1 West Washington St., 312.782.1111) HOTEL CASS

The quirky 175-room Hotel Cass opened in a Beaux-Arts building on the Magnificent Mile in 2007. The boutique property pairs Brady Bunch-esque patterns with clean lines and materials such as steel, limestone, and granite. Originally opened in 1927, Hotel Cass was recently rebranded by the Holiday Inn to mesh with its new urban portfolio. (640 North Wabash Ave., 312.787.4030) HOTEL FELIX

Hotel Felix opened in April 2009. The boutique property occupies a 1920s building and, after a $20 million renovation, is awaiting its LEED certification. Three meeting rooms offer seating for 25 to 40; and 225 guest rooms provide wireless Internet and iPod and iPhone docks. (111 West Huron St., 312.467.3440) HOTEL INDIGO CHICAGO GOLD COAST

This property opened under its current name in 2005, after a renovation of the historic Claridge Hotel. It has 165 guest rooms with whitewashed wood furniture and area rugs over hardwood floors. The hotel displays a collection of artwork by Bill Olendorf. Its featured meeting room, the Da Vinci, offers 672 square feet and a built-in stage. (1244 North Dearborn Pkwy., 312.787.4980)

The 40-story Hard Rock Hotel has several spaces for meeting and events. The Fender Ballroom is 3,000 square feet and can be divided into three spaces. Smaller rooms include the 500-square-foot Hamer Room and terrace, the 16-seat Gretsch Boardroom, and the Gibson Room, which holds 245 for receptions. Also on site: a 24-hour fitness center, spa services, the 200-seat China Grill, and the Base Bar in the lobby. (230 North Michigan Ave., 312.345.1000)

Cheryl Rowley designed this French Deco-inspired Kimpton hotel. It features two divisible meeting rooms and the 2,700-square-foot Paris Ballroom. A patio area, adjacent to the South Water Kitchen bistro, is available and holds 40 guests. (225 North Wabash, 312.960.8500)



The hotel chain’s downtown extension offers 1,544 guest rooms accented with cherrywood furnishings, brass fixtures, and Italian marble. More than 234,000 square feet of event space includes two ballrooms, the larger of which is the grand ballroom, with 34-foot ceilings, a balcony overlooking carpeted floors, mirrored accents, and crystal chandeliers. The northwest hall has five additional meeting rooms. (720 South Michigan Ave., 312.922.4400)

On the North Shore, this nine-story marble-and-brick hotel reopened in 2005, after a complete renovation. A 12,000-square-foot conference center, equipped with LCD monitors and projectors, adds to the 24,000 square feet of total event space offered by the hotel. A patio holds 50 for receptions. (1710 Orrington Ave., Evanston, 847.866.8700)


There are 253 guest rooms in this contemporary ninestory Hilton hotel, as well as six suites with Jacuzzi tubs. A 12-seat boardroom is available within the 7,000 square feet of event space. The Great American Grill and Lounge, the hotel’s featured restaurant, is just off the lobby. (2930 South River Road, Des Plaines, 847.296.8900) HILTON GARDEN INN EVANSTON

Just one block from O’Hare International Airport, this six-story hotel has 178 guest rooms, six of which are suites. The property features Prairie-style decor and 4,800 square feet of space dedicated to events. The largest available function room is 2,900 square feet and holds 360 for receptions. (1818 Maple Ave., Evanston, 847.475.6400) HOLIDAY INN CHICAGO MART PLAZA

This hotel completed a $20 million renovation in June 2009. In the property’s 521 guest rooms, new amenities include 32-inch flat-screen LCD TVs and complimentary high-speed Internet access. The hotel’s 20,000-squarefoot conference center, which spans three floors and offers 13 meeting rooms, also underwent a full renovation. (350 West Mart Center Drive, 312.836.5000) HILTON OAK LAWN

This circular suburban hotel was recently renovated. The 12-story property offers 184 guest rooms, four suites, and 30,000 square feet of event space. The grand ballroom is the largest of 14 banquet rooms and seats 700. (9333 South Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn, 708.425.7800) HOTEL ALLEGRO

OpenedastheBismarckhotelin1894,thisbuildingbecame the Hotel Allegro in 1998. The 19-floor property reopened in February 2008 after a renovation, which resulted in a newly designed interior that reflects a grande-dame style and incorporates all the eras through which the structure

68 summer 2010



This hotel opened in March 2010. The boutique hotel houses 261 rooms, each equipped with free high-speed Internet access. Some 5,800 square feet of event space includes a 2,555-square-foot ballroom, and the hotel can host meetings for 160 or receptions for 300. For overnight guests, perks include an enclosed rooftop pool and in-room spa services. (505 North State St., 312.755.9703) HOTEL SAX

The House of Blues Hotel finished a $25 million makeover in 2007 that transformed the property into Hotel Sax. A 14,000-square-foot meeting space opened in late 2007, and the property has replaced Kaz Bar with Crimson, a regal-looking lounge with four private areas for cocktails or events. (333 North Dearborn St., 312.245.0333) HYATT REGENCY O’HARE5

After undergoing a $60 million transformation, this hotel reopened in 2006 and now features a modern lobby decorated with brass sculptures, plush leather furniture, and white standing vases. In addition to its 110,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel is connected to the 40,000square-fooot Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The 30,000-square-foot grand ballroom can be divided into eight rooms, and two outdoor areas are available. (9300 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont, 847.696.1234) HYATT REGENCY WOODFIELD

This Schaumburg hotel completed a $32 million renovation. The revamped property has 27 meeting and banquet rooms, and 470 guest rooms offer new amenities such as flat-screen TVs and rainfall showerheads. Lobby restaurant Fresh 1800 specializes in French-inspired fare made with local produce. (1800 East Golf Road, 847.605.1234) INN OF CHICAGO MAGNIFICENT MILE5

This hotel reopened in 2007 with 22 floors and 357 rooms, 20 of which are suites. Six meeting spaces, including the executive boardroom, are available for a total of 5,500


In June 2009, the 556-room InterContinental Chicago O’Hare announced the completion of its new Artist’s Wing. With two new ballrooms, the addition has brought the hotel’s total meeting space from 28,000 square feet to 53,000 square feet. Features of the new wing include hanging sculptures and painting displays, a green rooftop covered in soil and wheat grass, and wind-powered electricity. (5300 North River Road, Rosemont, 847.544.5300) JAMES CHICAGO

The James opened on the Magnificent Mile in 2006. Its 297 guest rooms have plasma TVs, iPod docking stations, and dimmer switches. New York chef David Burke’s steak joint Primehouse is in the lobby, and there’s an in-house lounge, J Bar. The gym, a 2,500-square-foot space with weights and aerobic equipment, also offers spa services. For meetings, 7,000 square feet of event space holds 220. (55 East Ontario St., 312.337.1000) OPENING SOON JW MARRIOTT

In September 2010, Chicago’s first JW Marriott will open inside a Daniel-Burnham-designed bank building. The venue will offer 609 guest rooms, a 20,000-square-foot spa, and a fine dining restaurant. Some 44,000 square feet of event space will include two ballrooms and more than 30 breakout rooms. Green meeting packages will be available. (151 West Adams St., 312.660.8200) MAJESTIC HOTEL

In the Lakeview neighborhood adjacent to Lincoln Park, this four-story English-style boutique inn has the look and feel of a rustic countryside estate. It has 52 guest rooms, 23 of which are suites. One meeting room is available for 25 guests. (528 West Brompton Ave., 773.404.3499) MARRIOTT CHICAGO MIDWAY5

Colonial meets contemporary in this six-story 200-room hotel with a fireplace and French murals in the lobby. The 10-seat Lincoln Boardroom and the 20-seat Monroe Room are two of the six available meeting spaces. The Roosevelt Garden features a fountain and holds 100. A trolley provides shuttle service to and from Midway Airport. (6520 South Cicero Ave., 708.594.5500) MILLENNIUM KNICKERBOCKER HOTEL

This historic boutique hotel recently revamped its traditional style. The new look features metal detailing, stone floors, and alligator- and snakeskin-covered furnishings. A total of 18,300 square feet of event space is available, including 16 meeting rooms. The 5,000-square-foot Crystal Ballroom features a 25-foot domed ceiling and holds 600. (163 East Walton Place, 312.751.8100) OMNI CHICAGO HOTEL5

Decorated with dark woods, this 347-suite hotel overlooks Michigan Avenue. It offers 7,000 square feet of event space with nine meeting rooms, including a reception room that holds 2,200 and a 14-seat executive boardroom. An outdoor area is also available for events. (676 North Michigan Ave., 312.944.6664) PALMER HOUSE HILTON

The fabled Palmer House Hilton recently underwent a $150 million renovation. The $6 million Lockwood Restaurant and a glass-enclosed bar called Potter’s both opened in 2007. The 1,639-room hotel features more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Also on site: an 18,000-square-foot spa and fitness center and 10 hospitality suites. (17 East Monroe St., 312.726.7500) PARK HYATT CHICAGO5

Gerhard Richter’s 1968 large-scale painting “Piazza del Duomo” is mounted on a burnt-orange wall in the lobby of this 18-floor Hyatt hotel. In addition to 198 guest rooms, three meeting rooms are available on the grand salon level, including a 2,800-square-foot divisible ballroom. A semiprivate area in the NoMi garden holds 40 for receptions. (800 North Michigan Ave., 312.335.1234) PARK VIEW HOTEL

This hotel is currently undergoing a renovation. Many of its 194 guest rooms will offer views of Lincoln Park. When the work is complete, Park View will have a contemporary design with soft colors, textured wallpaper, and natural stone and tile and will offer 15,000 square feet of event space. (1816 North Clark St., 312.664.3040) PENINSULA CHICAGO5

A glass-paneled wall in yellow, green, and blue and a long marble gallery add to the classic design elements in this 339-room hotel. Five available meeting rooms total 9,500 square feet of event space, including a 4,095-square-foot grand ballroom that splits into two rooms and can hold 340 for receptions. A terrace connected to the ballroom and the hotel’s restaurant, Shanghai Terrace, is available for receptions. (108 East Superior St., 312.337.2888)



In late 2006,the team behind Miami’s Sanctuary launched the Raffaell in the historic Raphael Hotel space. After $20 million in renovations, the Wi-Fi-equipped hotel now features 175 oversize rooms outfitted with 300-threadcount linens and flat-screen TVs. The Raffaello has 4,000 square feet of event space and a 2,500-square-foot restaurant. (201 Delaware Place, 312.943.5000)

French architect Jean-Paul Viguier designed this modern glass prism structure with 32 floors and 415 guest rooms, including 33 suites. It has 10 meeting rooms furnished with mahogany conference tables and Herman Miller chairs. The grand ballroom, on the third floor, has a wall of windows with views of the John Hancock Center. (20 East Chestnut St., 312.324.4000)



This 27-floor contemporary hotel decorated in earth tones has 513 guest rooms, 40 suites, and 35,000 square feet of meeting space. Its 10,640-square-foot grand ballroom is the largest of two and seats 770 or holds 1,106 for receptions. The 6,500-square-foot Chicago Skyline Terrace, accessible from the third floor, holds 450 for receptions. (1 West Wacker Drive, 312.372.7200)

Open since March 2008, this contemporary hotel is connected to the Residence Inn and has 253 guest suites. SpringHill Suites is decorated in sea-foam green, baby blue, and brown. It has a 16-seat meeting room and also partners with area restaurants for use of their private facilities. (410 North Dearborn St., 312.644.4071)


After undergoing name changes and renovations, Sutton Place has emerged as a 22-floor boutique hotel with 246 guest rooms, including 37 suites. A collection of floral still lifes by Robert Mapplethorpe decorates its walls. A banquet room on the third floor is 7,000 square feet, holds 300, and is the largest of eight function rooms. (21 East Bellevue Place, 312.266.2100)

Just 15 minutes from O’Hare International Airport, this 16-floor hotel has a relaxed, modern design, with a lobby outfitted in bright primary colors and patterned carpeting. The hotel’s 16,000 square feet of event space includes a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and a 16-seat boardroom. The all-suite property offers 13 Renaissance suites with meeting tables. (8500 West Bryn Mawr Ave., 773.380.9600)



This luxury hotel has 434 guest rooms and 21,000 square feet of event space with five meeting rooms. The 9,000-square-foot ballroom, which has a ceiling fixture that contains more than 400,000 full-cut lead crystals, holds 1,200 people and is accompanied by an adjoining prefunction room. (160 East Pearson St., 312.266.1000)

In April 2009, the 661-room Swissotel Chicago unveiled its 38,000-square-foot event center. It includes the 14,000-square-foot Zurich ballroom, which can host events for 1,400. Smaller ballrooms include the 5,680square-foot Vevey, the 2,830-square-foot Montreux, and the 2,890-square-foot St. Gallen. (323 East Wacker Drive, 312.565.0565)



Open since May 2009, the boutique River Hotel overlooks the Chicago River from Wacker Drive. One hundred guest rooms include business-traveler perks such as workstations and free high-speed Internet; corporate apartments are also available. On the ground floor, Italian restaurant Bella Bacino’s serves comfort classics like pizza and bruschetta. (75 East Wacker Drive, 312.777.0990)

In the Gold Coast since 1927, this boutique hotel has 149 guest rooms, 31 of which are suites. The 16-floor hotel offers 1,800 square feet of event space with three meeting rooms, the largest of which is the 968-square-foot Delaware Room. The lobby can be combined with the Delaware to hold 200 for receptions. (20 East Delaware Place, 312.944.4970)



On a tree-lined street off the Magnificent Mile, this 190-room European-style hotel is steps away from such downtown attractions as the John Hancock Center. For events, the Chestnut Boardroom seats 17 and the divisible Statesman seats 50. (200 East Chestnut St., 312.787.8900)

This 135-room hotel just off the Magnificent Mile offers three meeting spaces. The hall of fame holds 120 people, the boardroom holds 30, and the Cricket Room holds 50. The Cricket Room can also be divided into two rooms that can each accommodate 15. Also on site is the bilevel Mike Ditka’s steak house, which can hold 100 for private events. (100 East Chestnut St., 312.751.1900)



In the North Shore suburbs, Sheraton Chicago Northbrook Hotel opened in October 2008 and offers proximity to the offices of such companies as Kraft Foods and Allstate Insurance. The property houses 161 guest rooms and some 2,000 square feet of meeting and event space. In the lobby, the Link@SheratonSM lounge offers workstations and complimentary broadband. (1110 Willow Road, Northbrook, 847.480.1900) SHERATON HOTEL & TOWERS

This Sheraton location offers 1,209 guest rooms and 120,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, with 34 breakout rooms, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, and a 35,000-square-foot exhibit hall. There are five restaurants and lounges, including Shula’s Steak House, as well as a health club, an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, and massage therapy. (301 East North Water St., 312.464.1000) SILVERSMITH HOTEL & SUITES

On Jewelers Row in the financial/theater district, this 10-floor hotel is in a landmark building of redbrick and terra-cotta tile. The hotel has 143 guest rooms, 63 of which are suites. The largest of four event rooms, the Chicago Landmark Room, is 1,300 square feet. (10 South Wabash Ave., 312.372.7696)


This hotel debuted in 2008, with 339 guest rooms spread over 13 of its 92 floors. A 20,000-square-foot conference center includes five conference rooms, two boardrooms, a grand ballroom that holds 299, and the Skyline Room for 175. The hotel also has a spa with 11 treatment rooms and a gym, as well as Sixteen, a white-tablecloth restaurant on the 16th floor. (401 North Wabash Ave., 312.588.8000) W CHICAGO CITY CENTER

This Starwood hotel has 358 guest rooms, 11 of which are suites. Decorated with purple and brown, the area known as the Living Room features stacked cube lighting fixtures that illuminate the entrance way. The 4,158-square-foot great room is the largest of 10 meeting rooms and has chandeliers hanging from its vaulted ceilings. (172 West Adams St., 312.332.1200) W CHICAGO LAKESHORE

This W hotel has 520 guest rooms and 33 floors. The Living Room lobby is decorated with dark wood accents, plush throw pillows, and Chinese tiles at the entrance. More than 12,000 square feet of event space includes 15 meeting rooms. One of them, Altitude, is surrounded by windows

for a panoramic lakeside view; the top-floor space holds 220 people. (644 North Lake Shore Drive, 312.943.9200) WESTIN CHICAGO NORTH SHORE

The 412-room Westin Chicago North Shore is home to Tru alums Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand’s two restaurants: Osteria di Tramonto, a 200-seat rustic Italian spot, and Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood, a sleek dinner spot with a two-story waterfall—both of which have multiple private rooms. There is also a 100-seat raw bar, RT Lounge. The hotel offers 35,000 square feet of event space, including a 14,825-square-foot ballroom. (601 North Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, 847.777.6500) WESTIN CHICAGO RIVER NORTH

A former Nikko hotel, this property became a Westin in 1997. It features a contemporary design with Asianinfluenced artwork and a water fountain in the lobby. The hotel offers 424 guest rooms and 28,000 square feet of event space, including the grand ballroom, which holds 1,000. (320 North Dearborn St., 312.744.1900) WESTIN LOMBARD YORKTOWN CENTER5

Open since 2007, this hotel salutes its surrounding area of Lombard—a.k.a. Lilac City—with large photos of the flowers and small accents in their color. The hotel has 39,000 square feet of event space, including 27 meeting rooms and a 19,000-square-foot grand ballroom. A terrace, which adjoins the junior ballroom, is also available, as are six other suites with terraces. (70 Yorktown Center, Lombard, 630.719.8000) WESTIN MICHIGAN AVENUE

Decorated in earth tones, the lobby of this hotel has a winding staircase and chocolate-brown leather chairs. The hotel has 752 guest rooms, 23 suites, and 35,000 square feet of event space. The Wellington Ballroom holds 500 and features midcentury crystal chandeliers, Carrara marble columns, and satinwood wainscoting. (909 North Michigan Ave., 312.943.7200) WHITEHALL HOTEL5

From its 18th-floor patios, this boutique hotel offers close-up views of the John Hancock Tower. In addition to 222 guest rooms, the 12-floor hotel has eight event spaces. These include a 1,166-square-foot salon that can be divided into three rooms and an executive boardroom that seats 12. (105 East Delaware Place, 312.944.6300) WIT HOTEL

In May 2009, the Wit Hotel opened downtown. With a facade bearing a yellow zigzag, the 27-story property houses 238 guest rooms and 60 suites. On the third and fourth floors, meeting spaces such as Dickinson and Wilde are named after famous wits and can host conferences for groups with 16 to 99 guests. On the fourth floor, a multimedia theater called Screen can seat 40 in recliners, couches, and club chairs. Other features of the property include a spa, which can be rented for groups of 10. (201 North State St. 312.467.0200) WYNDHAM CHICAGO

On the Magnificent Mile, this 17-floor hotel is a glass structure with marble floors and a carpeted wraparound staircase in the main lobby. Its 417 rooms and 48 suites are accompanied by more than 18,000 square feet of event space divided into 19 meeting rooms. The hotel’s restaurant, Caliterra Bar & Grille, is on the second floor. (633 North Saint Clair St., 312.573.0300) WYNDHAM DRAKE5

Exposed wood beams, yellow wallpaper, oil paintings, and a fireplace decorate the lobby of this Oakwood hotel. There are 160 guest rooms, 11 suites, and 13 meeting rooms available. More than 12,000 square feet of space is designated for events, and an outdoor area can host for receptions. (2301 York Road, Oak Brook, 630.574.5700)

Independent Event Spaces A NEW LEAF

This three-story space, an offshoot of a floral-design business of the same name, opened in 2003. Groups of as many as 150 can take over the entire venue, which includes a mezzanine and a brick-walled courtyard. (1820 North Wells St., 312.642.8553) ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO BALLROOM

This Baroque ballroom retains its original 1927 flavor with a gilded staircase, marbled columns, and a terrazzo dance floor. Opera balconies, a theater stage, and lighting equipment allow for receptions for 600 or seated events for 300 with dancing. (112 South Michigan Ave., 312.345.3506) ATRIUM EVENTS

On the lower level of Architectural Artifacts, an antiques showroom, this 10,000-square-foot space has a warehouse feel. Stained-glass and wrought-iron designs rescued from old buildings hang from the brick walls. The venue holds 350. (4325 North Ravenswood Ave., 773.348.1395) BALLROOM AT 12 EAST ERIE

With its 24-foot ceilings, mahogany wall panels and Art Deco light fixtures, this Gold Coast venue lends itself to upscale banquets for as many as 175 or 150 with a dance floor. Combined with the adjacent lobby, the facility holds

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space

300 for receptions. Phil Stefani Signature Events is the exclusive caterer. (12 East Erie St., 312.226.7611) CATALYST RANCH

Formerly a sausage-smoking plant in the West Loop, this building shows its 1880s roots with exposed brick and wood-beam ceilings. Five rooms are available. The smallest room holds 40 for receptions and the largest holds 150. (656 West Randolph St., Suite 3W, 312.207.1710) CHATEAU BU-SCHE’

This regal 40-acre venue offers ample outdoor flowerfilled space for 200 guests. The Chateau’s atriums, which feature white marble floors, baby grand pianos, and crystal chandeliers, can hold as many as 500. (11535 South Cicero Ave., Alsip, 708.371.6400) CHICAGO ILLUMINATING COMPANY

A turn-of-the-century power plant reinvented as an event space, this Southside venue offers 10,000 square feet. The space seats 250 or holds 600 for receptions and features a pair of marble bars and a mezzanine. (19 East 21st St., 312.326.9500) THE COTILLION

This neoclassical venue has a trio of rooms totaling 15,000 square feet that can be used separately or together;

combined, they can seat 800 or hold receptions for 1,000. In warm weather, a 900-square-foot patio is available. (360 South Creekside Drive, Palatine, 847.934.5500) CREATIVE STUDIO SPACE 2941

Open since 2008, this Avondale venue offers a pair of small studios with exposed brick walls. The larger of the two is 750 square feet and holds 60 for receptions, while the smaller is about half the size. In warmer months, groups can also access the 400-square-foot garden. (2941 West Belmont Ave., 773.895.2748) CRYSTAL GARDENS AT NAVY PIER

Groups can feel like they’re dining in a tropical garden. More than 80 live palm trees (plus other tropical plants) are arranged throughout the six-story space. The ballroom can accommodate groups of 100 to 2,000 guests. (700 East Grand Ave., 312.595.5436) FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S UNITY TEMPLE5

Architecture buffs consider this landmark to be one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most iconic early works. The sanctuary seats 350; a social hall with a large working fireplace seats 80 or holds 225 for receptions. The foyer and two patios hold 100 for receptions. The reception hall holds 300. (875 Lake St., Oak Park, 708.848.6225 ext. 108) summer 2010 69

Chicago Venue Directory

Independent Event Spaces




Several indoor and outdoor spaces can be combined to hold 1,200 at this Tuscan-themed banquet facility. In the East Courtyard, the Galleria can accommodate up to 400 guests and was recently updated to include 3,000 square feet of entertainment space, portable bars, and audiovisual and meeting equipment. (825 West Erie St., 312.563.0495)

This photo studio and event venue, located in the West Loop, has brick walls, 20-foot ceilings, and a 65-foot long skylight. The space seats 150 or holds 200 for receptions. (1266 West Lake St., 312.738.2437)


The former Iron Studios is undergoing a renovation and will reopen later in 2010 as Geolofts. Groups looking for an eco-friendly venue might want to check out the space, since the owners are applying for LEED status. The venue will have 5,000 square feet of exhibition space or about 10,000 square feet of flexible space spread across three or four rooms. (3636 South Iron St., 773.376.8098) GERMANIA PLACE

Designed in 1888, this venue houses two ballrooms. Stained glass crafted in Germany for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair adorns the entrance to the grand ballroom, which seats 400 and holds an additional 175 in a balcony. The Royal Ballroom seats 230 and can be combined with the adjoining grand ballroom to hold 1,000. (108 West Germania Place, 312.573.1968)

This government building has 16 stories of windows and a 4,000-square-foot concourse level, and is a unique spot for groups of as many as 2,000. The 7,500-square-foot assembly hall has a 1,152-square-foot stage and seats 600. (100 West Randolph St., 312.814.6684)


is 20,000 square feet of event space. The Ravenswood Billboard Factory has windows that stretch to the 45-foot ceiling. The Showroom features classic automobiles and sports cars. In total, the venue can hold 800. (4011 North Ravenswood Ave., 773.388.2170) RESOLUTION DIGITAL STUDIOS

This 32,000-square-foot space is used to shoot everything from movies to commercials. The 5,600-square-foot main stage is a raw space with exposed brick walls that holds 600. The second-floor apartment set consists of a model living room and kitchen. A rooftop deck holds 50. (2226 West Walnut St., 312.846.4226)

Open since September 2009, Logan Square Kitchen is an event space and shared-use commercial kitchen. In a 1913 building, the venue is certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The space hosts sitdown dinners for 75 and receptions for 100. (2333 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.342.7395)




This venue in the Astor Towers is a faithful reproduction of the famous Maxim’s restaurant in Paris. Featuring Art Nouveau decor, red banquettes, and brass and stainedglass accents, this space seats 136 or 200 for receptions. (24 East Goethe St., 312.742.1748)

A Beaux-Arts high-rise built in 1888, the Rookery has a light-filled atrium that seats 240 or holds 425 for receptions. Dubbed the “light court” because of the light that comes from its skylights, the space has a spiral staircase that appears to be suspended from the mezzanine. (209 South La Salle St., 312.553.6100)


Home to an array of galleries and artists’ studios, this center’s event spaces include Serenity Waterside and the Mandala. Outdoor areas include Tranquility, which has views of the Chicago River. The entire venue holds 1,500. (435 East Illinois St., 312.321.1001)

The M.C.A. Warehouse, once a pie factory and later a Chinese bakery, offers 19,000 square feet of event space and serves as the collections storehouse for the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is raw and industrial, with brick walls, exposed piping, and downtown views. (1747 West Hubbard St., 312.397.3855)


In the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, this four-level venue offers four indoor areas plus a rooftop terrace. The largest space, the 4,400-square-foot Grand Piazza Ballroom, seats 300 or holds 500 for receptions. The terrace holds 250 and offers views of the city skyline. (1431 West Taylor St., 312.226.5566)



Although the 2.8 million-square-foot Merchandise Mart is the largest building in Chicago, it includes this intimate space overlooking the river. The wood-paneled Club Room on the eighth floor seats 70 or holds 100 for receptions. (222 Merchandise Mart Properties at South Drive, 312.527.7695)



As many as 2,500 people can take over the 20,000-squarefoot great hall of this transportation hub. The Beaux-Arts space features 18 columns, a vaulted ceiling, and a marble floor. For smaller gatherings, the 3,500-square-foot Union Gallery holds 200 for receptions. (210 South Canal St., 312.655.2481)

On the 94th floor of the 100-story John Hancock Center, the observatory offers panoramic views of Chicago. When groups are using the space, management unlocks the pay telescopes so that guests can take a gander for free. The venue seats 200 or holds 600 for receptions. (875 North Michigan Ave., 312.751.3680)

This historic venue, built in 1940, was once a popular club for African-American socialites. Restored in 2002, the Bronzeville ballroom is now a full-service event venue. The ballroom is operated by Rome’s Joy Catering and Event Planning. (4455 South King Drive, 773.373.4320)


In the Dave Jordano Studios headquarters, this 2,500square-foot beamed loft is adorned with the owner’s black-and-white cityscapes. A room with a pool table holds 50 for receptions; the main studio seats 120. (2023 South Prairie Ave., 312.225.0600)


Home to Chicago’s largest dance floor—it’s 900 square feet—this country club offers a 4,400-square-foot ballroom, which holds 300, and an outdoor reception area for 50. Amenities include dressing areas, on-site parking, kitchen facilities, and catering. (1201 Park Ave. West, Highland Park, 847.433.4000) IVY ROOM AT TREE STUDIOS

Only two blocks from the Magnificent Mile, this River North ballroom holds 375 for receptions. It overlooks a European-style courtyard garden with ivy-covered walls that holds 250 for receptions. The venue provides a preferred list of caterers, decorators, and florists. (12 East Ohio St., 312.645.7760)



This interior-design and decor retailer is full of antiques and Eastern touches. About 24,000 square feet over four levels is available, including a re-creation of a Hindu temple that seats 30 and a library. The entire venue holds 350. (130 North Jefferson St., 312.575.9600) RAVENSWOOD EVENT CENTER

Carved out of the 325,000-square-foot Manz Printing and Engraving Company, this venue opened in 2008. There


This house was constructed between 1904 and 1908 and purchased by Lake Forest Academy in 1947. The house holds 200 for events, or several hundred throughout the grounds and gardens. (1500 West Kennedy Road, Lake Forest, 847.615.3219) BERGER PARK CULTURAL CENTER5

This venue is one of the oldest original mansions on Chicago’s lakefront and can hold as many as 100 throughout its first-floor rooms and garden space. (6205 North Sheridan Road, 773.761.0376) CHICAGO DE BLANCO

Chicago de Blanco is a three-story town house in Bucktown. Clean lines rule the lofted main floor, which holds 80 amid limestone, glass, steel, and marble accents.

There is a kitchen, as well as 24 audio speakers. (1808 North Paulina St., 312.810.0070) DANADA HOUSE5

Local mogul Dan Rice and his wife, Ada, once owned this suburban mansion. The 19-room house holds 150 people, and a 4,000-square-foot glass-enclosed atrium seats 250 or holds 350 for receptions. For larger groups, the grounds can be tented. (3 South 501 Naperville Road, Wheaton, 630.668.5392) PATRICK C. HALEY MANSION

This stately three-and-a-half-story mansion designed by architect Frank Shaver Allen was completed in 1891. Its conservatory and ballroom, decked with crystal chandeliers and starry-sky accent lighting, seat 450 or hold 600 for receptions. (17 South Center St., Joliet, 815.726.6800)

This 2,200-square-foot loft above Pressure Point Recording Studios recently became available for corporate and social events. The space has atrium windows, a lounge, four themed bathrooms, a DJ booth, and audiovisual capabilities. (2239 South Michigan Ave., 312.328.9100 ext. 39)


Local production company Event Creative owns Venue One in the West Loop, which opened in May 2010. The venue has three levels, each with 12,000 square feet of raw space. The second floor can seat 500, and the first floor can seat 400. The entire venue can be bought out to host receptions for 1,000. Preferred caterers include Limelight. (1044 West Randolph St., 312.327.0111) WEST LOOP STUDIO

This 4,000-square-foot loft is a raw space. The third-floor venue has maple floors and windows that overlook the West Loop neighborhood (Chicago’s old meatpacking district). The studio holds 200 people for receptions or 120 for seated events. (17 North Elizabeth St., 312.733.5762) WINNETKA COMMUNITY HOUSE5

This venue offers 12 rooms for groups. The 3,224-squarefoot garden room is the largest; it seats 200 or holds 250 for receptions and has arches that overlook the garden. The brick-walled, open-air garden can be tented. (620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, 847.965.4094)


Designed by architect George Washington Maher in the Prairie style more than a century ago, this national historic landmark seats 90 or holds 150 for receptions. The lawn can be tented to seat 300. (217 Home Ave., Oak Park, 708.383.2654) REDFIELD ESTATE AT THE GROVE5

A national historic landmark, the original Redfield mansion, built in 1929, holds 100 people for events. Events can also be held outdoors in one of two gazebos or in the meadow surrounding the house. The facility provides tables, chairs, and silverware, along with a recommended list of vendors. (1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview, 847.298.0095) STAN MANSION

Formerly a Masonic Temple, this elegant mansion was built in 1921. The venue’s 3,000-square-foot main auditorium has a stage and an adjacent wet bar and kitchen. It can seat 300 or hold as many as 400 for a reception. A second auditorium also has a stage and full audiovisual capabilities. (2408 North Kedzie, 773.276.1099)

Museums & Cultural Spaces ART MUSEUMS



The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s ArchiCenter offers several event spaces. The John Buck Company Lecture Hall holds 200 for receptions. The CitySpace Gallery includes a scale model of the city and holds 60. The Elizabeth Morse Learning Studio, with a centralized data connection, can hold 35. (224 South Michigan Ave., 312.922.3432)

Open since May 2009, the Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing comprises two pavilions that surround the first-floor Griffin Court. The bilevel circulation space holds 1,800 for receptions. On the second level, the Nichols Trustee suite offers seating for 65. The Terzo Piano restaurant provides patio seating for 60; inside, the space can seat 300. (111 South Michigan Ave., 312.443.3530)

70 summer 2010


This building was designed in 1997 around the McCormick

House, one of three Mies van der Rohe residences built in the U.S. The museum specializes in late-20th-century American art and features 16 special exhibitions per year. The glass gallery seats 150 or holds 300 for receptions. (150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, 630.834.0202 ext. 41) MARY & LEIGH BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART

Northwestern University’s visual-arts museum houses nearly 4,000 works of art in a glass-and-limestone structure designed by architect Dirk Lohan. The Pick-Laudati

Auditorium seats 150. The lobby holds 75, and event guests have access to the galleries. (40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, 847.491.4000) MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART5

This museum has several indoor and outdoor event spaces. The Kern Terrace and the sculpture garden can be tented; combined, they seat 500 or hold 2,000 for receptions. The 300-seat M.C.A. Theater features oak-paneled walls. The Kanter Meeting Center seats 60 or holds 100 for receptions. All galleries remain accessible to guests during events. (220 East Chicago Ave., 312.280.2660)




AChicagolandmarksince1887,thisbuildingwasrenovated in 2001. One of the spaces given a face-lift was Ruggles Hall, which holds 300. The lobby, which has 20-foot ceilings, holds 250. The oak-paneled Towner Fellows’ Lounge holds 75. (60 West Walton St., 312.255.3595)

This hands-on learning museum has 17 exhibits that explore topics like music, science, and nature. The LEEDcertified building has carpet tiles made from recycled materials. The 23,000-square-foot facility holds 450, while a 6,000-square-foot tented terrace seats 500. (2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview, 847.832.6914)


A group of Vietnam War veterans who wanted to create an artistic record of the war opened this museum in 1981. The lofted gallery showcases visual art by veterans and by those involved in and affected by war. The space holds 400 people. (1801 South Indiana Ave., 312.326.0270)

Built at the Glenview Naval Air Station in 1945,this memorial chapel was moved to its current location in 2001. It retains its original four-sided, nondenominational altar, stained-glass windows, and hardwood floors. The main floor seats 150 while the lower-level meeting room seats 90. (1799 Patriot Blvd., Glenview, 847.657.3461)



On the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park, the Smart Museum strives to bring an understanding and appreciation of the visual arts to students and the local community. The Eunice Ratner Reception Gallery seats 80 or holds 300 for receptions, and a tented sculpture garden seats 250. (5550 South Greenwood Ave., 773.612.1536)

This building has a Beaux-Arts style. A Tiffany stainedglass dome caps the ceiling of Preston Bradley Hall, which holds 700. The G.A.R. Rotunda also features a stained-glass dome and holds 550 for receptions. Other spaces include a 298-seat theater and various galleries that hold as many as 800. (78 East Washington St., 312.744.6630)




This Wicker Park gallery features modern art, as well as furniture and sculptures handcrafted from fallen wood (rather than through logging). The space can accommodate receptions for 125 or holds 95 in the back courtyard. The gallery also has café chairs and tables available for rent. (220 North Aberdeen St., 312.286.2307) OPENING SOON BRIDGEPORT ARTS GALLERY

Slated to open in October 2010, this 18,000-square-foot space will host seated dinners for more than 800. Taste America will be the exclusive beverage provider, and can arrange for catering from Lettuce Entertain You restaurants such as Tru and Ben Pao. Hosts are also welcome to bring in vendors of their choosing. (1200 West 35th St.)

Founded in 1856, this museum is the city’s oldest cultural institution. The Chicago Room, with walls featuring stained glass by Frank Lloyd Wright and Tiffany, holds 600. The Rubloff Auditorium seats 440, and small conference rooms hold as many as 70. A 15,000-square-foot plaza is also available. (1601 North Clark St., 312.642.4600) CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY

The largest public library in the world, this South Loop building sits on an entire city block. The ninth-floor Winter Garden atrium features a marble floor under a 52-foot glass-paneled dome and holds 500. The adjacent south hall has floor-to-ceiling windows and seats 200. Receptions for as many as 650 can be held in the lobby. An auditorium seats 385. (400 South State St., 312.747.4300) CLARKE HOUSE MUSEUM5

Showcasing contemporary art in a variety of media, this 4,000-square-foot gallery on the first floor of the Washington Building features high ceilings and white walls. The space can seat 80 or hold 150 for receptions. (835 West Washington Blvd., 312.491.0917)

Managed by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and located in the oldest house in Chicago, this museum hosts exhibits on the social history of Chicago from 1846 to 1860. The gardens seat 80 or hold 100 for receptions. Guests may access the museum during events. (1827 South Indiana Ave., 312.745.0041)




From furniture to ceramics and ancient tools, this West Loop gallery seeks out historic artifacts and art pieces from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The 2,500-square-foot loft holds 150. The landscaped sculpture gardens are open to guests seasonally. (400 North Morgan St., 312.226.7975)

This civic and cultural center for Chicago’s Polish community offers event space. A banquet space seats 103 or holds 259 for receptions, while two meeting rooms seat 26 and 30. On the third floor, the elegant King’s Hall holds 254. (5216 West Lawrence Ave., 773.777.8898)



This 1,200-square-foot all-white gallery shows the artwork of local talent and nationally regarded artists. The splitlevel venue in Andersonville can hold 100 people. (5115 North Clark St., 312.371.7543)

Designed in 1914, this Venetian-style mansion serves as an art gallery and museum chronicling the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. The dining room seats 65 and the great hall seats 50. A pavilion tent in front of the mansion, available from April to October, seats 300. (1350 North Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills, 847.362.3042)


This community arts center offers classes in all art forms. Three fifth-floor galleries feature exposed piping and wood floors and can seat 80 or hold 100 for receptions. A third-floor terrace can seat 200 or hold 250 for receptions. (66 East Randolph St., 312.744.8925) GESCHEIDLE

This contemporary gallery in the West Loop showcases cutting-edge drawings and paintings, as well as some photography, video, and fiber arts, with a focus on smallscale works. The 1,500-square-foot space has cement floors and holds 80. (1039 West Lake St., 312.226.3500) JEAN ALBANO GALLERY

Colored walls and wood floors accentuate this loft, which can hold 75 for receptions. This asymmetrical gallery showcases contemporary paintings and mixed media from established and emerging artists from Chicago and the West Coast. (215 West Superior St., 312.440.0770)


This museum was named after Chicago’s first permanent settler, Haitian fur trader Jean Baptiste Point DuSable. Three levels of galleries can be rented for events (the smallest holds 50 people, while the largest holds 650), and a 100-seat auditorium is available. A 445-seat theater can host events. (740 East 56th Place, 773.947.0600 ext. 250) ILLINOIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTER

It took 10 years of planning and fund-raising to build this Skokie museum, which opened in April 2009. The $45 million 65,000-square-foot structure has a 234-seat auditorium, several flexible classrooms, a café and lunchroom space for groups, and the Museum Hall, which holds 325. (9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, 847.967.4800) MCCORMICK TRIBUNE BRIDGEHOUSE & CHICAGO RIVER MUSEUM

This bilevel gallery in Chicago’s historic market showcases what it bills as “fine, fun, and funky” artwork. Hardwood floors, high-beamed ceilings, and brick walls accentuate the warehouse loft. The 3,500-square-foot gallery holds 150. (1139 West Fulton Market, 312.226.7808)

Restored in 2006, the Bridgehouse Museum reveals the history of the Chicago River and is home to the massive Michigan Avenue Bridge gears. The five floors of the 1,200-square-foot space can hold 30 for receptions or dinners. An intimate dinner for eight can be held on the top floor. (376 North Michigan Ave., 312.977.0227)



This eclectic gallery features contemporary art from local artists, as well as antique prints and J.J. Granville illustrations. The space holds 40 and offers panoramic views of the garden. The Avram Eisen Studio adds an additional 700 square feet. (5216 North Damen Ave., 773.878.4255)

This museum is one of the first in the country to focus on facilitating education about the First Amendment and other American freedoms. The lobby seats 60 or holds 85 for receptions. The Freedom Theater seats 50 or holds 60 for receptions (455 North Michigan Ave., 312.222.4860)



Three Peas Art Lounge opened in the South Loop in April 2010. The venue houses a café, a lounge, and a 1,100-square-foot art gallery that can host receptions for 50. Rental fees include a bartending staff, and hosts can select caterers from a preferred list that includes Stefani and Michael’s. (75 East 16th St., 312.624.9414)

This 19th-century village museum relates the history of Naperville through actors and restored settings. The original Gothic revival chapel, built in 1864, seats 200. The tavern, in the Pre-Emption House, seats 40 or holds 100 for receptions. Outside, wooden tables seat as many as 135. (523 South Webster St., Naperville, 630.420.6010)



Founded in 2004, this center has art galleries, studios, event space, and a café. The venue holds as many as 1,000 guests in 17,000 square feet of gallery space. The Zhou B. Café can also be rented; it holds 70. (1029 West 35th St., 773.523.0200)

John Vinci designed this contemporary five-story building. A lobby gallery features 25-foot screens that can show personalized footage for events. The space holds 210. The third-floor Grand Piazza ballroom holds 500, while a rooftop terrace holds 220. (1431 West Taylor St., 312.226.5566)


5= Venues that offer outdoor event space


This nonpartisan military library facilitates discussion of the role of the American military in a democratic society. The two-story McHenry Atrium, with a hand-sewn American flag from 1898, holds 150 for receptions. The gallery holds 100 for receptions. A conference room holds six. (610 North Fairbanks Court, 312.587.0234) SPERTUS MUSEUM/SPERTUS INSTITUTE OF JEWISH STUDIES5

The Spertus Institute building is LEED-certified and features a green roof and an energy-efficient glass facade. A 30-foot atrium and views of the skyline characterize the Crown Family Great Hall, which seats 300 or holds 450 for receptions. The 10th-floor Landmark Room and terrace hold 100. (610 South Michigan Ave., 312.322.1718) TRIBUNE TOWER

The Tribune Tower unveiled new event spaces in June 2009. An observation deck with 360-degree views of the skyline can hold 200. Inside, the McCormick Conference Center holds 250 for receptions. Campbell Hall provides theater seating for 200. Food for Thought caters events in the building. (435 North Michigan Ave., 847.745.5135) WAGNER FARM HERITAGE CENTER

This 18-acre farm has been preserved as a working museum to showcase traditional agriculture and rural life. The Heritage Center museum can host events for as many as 200, during which guests have full access to the barn and grounds. Catered by Design provides food for all events. (1510 Wagner Road, Glenview, 847.657.1506)


Adler Planetarium houses ancient astronomical artifacts, including a window sundial created in 1529. Galileo’s restaurant seats 325. The Sky Pavilion telescope can be staffed for viewings, and the 275-seat Sky Theatre and the 191-seat StarRider Theatre can be used for video presentations. (1300 South Lake Shore Drive, 312.322.0328) BROOKFIELD ZOO5

Home to 3,000 animals, the zoo has various animal facilities that can hold as many as 500. Bocaditos restaurant seats 150. The zoo added four distinct outdoor pavilions in May 2009. The largest, the Swan, holds 750. Combined, the pavilions hold 2,000. The entire 216-acre zoo can hold 20,000. (3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, 708.688.8355) FIELD MUSEUM5

This natural history museum has 35 permanent exhibits and several event spaces on its three floors. The Stanley Field Hall features a fossil of the largest T. Rex yet discovered and holds 7,500. Other spaces include the atrium and pavilion, which combine to hold 500; the 700-seat James Simpson Theater; and the terraces, which hold a combined 1,000. (1400 South Lake Shore Drive, 312.922.9410) INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF SURGICAL SCIENCE

This museum blends the latest in cutting-edge science with elegant French Versailles architecture. The history of medicine and surgery is showcased in 22 exhibit halls. Receptions for 200 or dinners for 100 are held on the second floor, home of the Hall of Immortals and the Hall of Murals. (1524 North Lake Shore Drive, 312.642.6502) IRISH AMERICAN HERITAGE CENTER

This cultural center has several spaces for private events, including a 658-seat auditorium and a 310-seat Social Center. Four rooms have seating for 50 to 120 people. The Fifth Province Bar, an Irish pub, seats 175. (4626 North Knox Ave., 773.282.7035 ext. 10) LINCOLN PARK ZOO5

Founded in 1868, this zoo is one of the oldest in the country. The lion house, primate house, and reptile house hold 500, 400, and 300, respectively, while open spaces like the Farm in the Zoo and the Main Mall hold as many as 1,000. Café Brauer provides a ballroom space with attached north and south loggias; it seats 300 or holds 500 for receptions. (2001 North Clark St., 312.742.2400) MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY5

The only surviving building from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, this museum displays the largest science collection in the Western Hemisphere. The rotunda holds 2,500. Artifacts like the Apollo 8 command module can be centerpieces of an event for as many as 325 in the Henry Crown Space Center. (5700 Lake Shore Drive, 773.753.2583) PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM5

The eco-friendly nature museum has rooftop gardens, solar panels, and exhibits created out of recycled materials. Views of the surrounding greenery can be seen from the south gallery or the atrium, both of which hold 200. A courtyard holds 150, and a 5,000-square-foot terrace holds 600. (2430 North Cannon Drive, 773.755.5100) SHEDD AQUARIUM5

In 2009, the Shedd Aquarium unveiled its renovated Oceanarium. Open since 1991, the 170,000-square-foot marine mammal pavilion houses dolphins, otters, and whales. The updated venue now offers a lakeside terrace, which seats 160 guests. As before renovations, the interior can hold 1,200. (1200 South Lake Shore Drive, 312.939.2438) summer 2010 71

Chicago Venue Directory

Outdoor Spaces

400. The original 1949 Montefiori Villa has wine cellar. (11250 South Archer Ave., Lemont, 630.257.6576) MORTON ARBORETUM

This 1,700-acre arboretum offers a lawn and a garden, which each hold 275, and Firefly Pond, which holds 2,000. There are four indoor rooms and a 100-seat auditorium. (4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, 630.725.2190)



A landmark built in 1927, this is one of the largest fountains in the world. Its two lakeside pavilions offer more than 60,000 square feet of space, and each holds 4,760. (Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive, 312.742.4847)

Named after German scientist Alexander von Humboldt in 1869, this 300-acre park holds 2,500. The field house’s ballroom holds 300 for receptions. Outside vendors are welcome. (1400 North Sacramento Ave., 312.742.7549)



This garden includes an 11,970-square-foot center plaza that holds 1,190 and a 2,400-square-foot lower terrace that holds 240. Renting electrical generators is recommended. (337 East Randolph St., 312.742.4847)

This 1,100-acre forest preserve offers event spaces situated around a 115-acre lake. Audubon Hall holds 500 in its indoor-outdoor space. The North Bay Pavilion holds 500, and the observation deck seats 60 or holds 120 for receptions. (16400 West Buckley Road, Libertyville, 847.247.1111)


Of the 17 event spaces at the garden, three offer alfresco facilities four months a year. The Buehler Enabling Garden holds 150; the English Walled Garden holds 250; and the Rose Terrace, which overlooks a rose garden, holds 250. (1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, 847.835.5440)



A spray pool, a playground, a zoo, and four tennis courts can be found in this 13.6-acre park. The park can hold several hundred. The cultural center’s 1,500-square-foot auditorium holds 100. (2500 West Lunt Ave., 773.764.0338)

This space has three event areas. The 1,848-square-foot field house holds 150, the 1,340-square-foot lakefront patio holds 120, and the front patio has 1,344 square feet of space for 120. (5491 South Lake Shore Drive, 312.742.4847)




This park harbors Chicago’s oldest house, the Clarke House Museum (built in 1836), and commemorates the achievements of significant Chicago women. The main garden holds 250. (1827 South Indiana Ave., 312.742.4838)

Designed by the architect who created Central Park in New York, this facility covers 28,925 square feet of lakefront. The sun-drenched promenade holds 1,340, the Fountain Courtyard holds 680, and the Serenity Courtyard holds 1,000. (6300 South Lake Shore Drive, 312.742.4847)

This 65-acre park offers tennis courts, a golf course, and a beach. Eight event spaces include the dining room, which holds 300; a 600-seat theater; and the solarium, which holds 300. (7059 South Shore Drive, 773.256.0149)


A family-oriented park, this venue can hold several hundred for events. An assembly hall built in the 1920s seats 125. The park has baseball diamonds, a pool, and a playground. (4822 North Long Ave., 773.685.3316)



This landmark has Spanish-influenced architecture. The dining hall and terrace each hold 150. The dance hall holds 200. The pavilion holds 250 and the entire venue holds 870. (5701 West Jackson Blvd., 773.287.0856) DALEY CENTER PLAZA

Available for public events only, Daley Plaza is the site of Chicago’s biggest seasonal festivals. Nonprofit and civic organizations can host events here. Daley Center Plaza holds 500. (50 West Washington St., 312.603.2526) GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY

This conservatory comprises multiroom greenhouses and two exhibition halls. It holds 600. The Monet Garden holds 100 in its intimate 500-square-foot space. (300 North Central Park Ave., 312.746.5250) GRANT PARK ROSE GARDENS

On the north and south sides of Buckingham Fountain, this venue has two award-winning rose gardens; each is 17,800 square feet and holds 1,780 guests. Electrical generators must be rented. (Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive, 312.742.4847)

This glass-enclosed conservatory has been around since the 1800s. The 51,200-square-foot lawn holds 3,000, and Grandmother’s Garden holds 2,000. The Palm House, Fern Room, Show House, and Orchid House are open for tours during events. (2400 North Stockton Drive, 312.742.4847) MCKINLOCK COURT AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

An 11,641-square-foot court for 300, McKinlock Court includes a replica of Copenhagen’s renowned Fountain of the Tritons, a Bloomington limestone terrazzo, and Dutch elm trees. (111 South Michigan Ave., 312.553.9675) MILLENNIUM PARK

This 24.5-acre public facility has a variety of spaces: the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, which seats 4,000; the 1,200-seat Chase Promenade; Harris Theater’s Rooftop Terrace; and the tree-lined Wrigley Square. (201 East Randolph St., 312.744.6050) MONTEFIORI

This 28-acre setting has waterfalls, gardens, and restaurants. The 2,000-square-foot Michilina’s Pavilion holds


This 91-acre peninsula juts into Lake Michigan. It holds 400 in the visitors’ center, and a tented area holds 1,000. In 2005, a 7,500-seat concert arena was built. (1400 South Lynn White Drive, 312.745.2910) This venue’s tropical, fern, and desert plant house dates from 1929. The Elvira Rubinstein Community Room holds 150. A side garden can be tented for 100 guests. A kitchen is available. (615 Garfield St., Oak Park, 708.386.4700)



With a $1.25 million gift from Tiffany & Co., local nonprofit the Parkways Foundation renovated Grant Park’s south rose garden and unveiled the space in September 2009. The garden occupies two-thirds of an acre and is available for events. (Columbus & Balbo Drives, 312.742.5410) UIC ATHLETIC FIELDS

The University of Illinois at Chicago hosts events on its lawn and athletic fields. The lawn holds 6,000. Events are booked through Windy City Fieldhouse. (800 West Maxwell St., 773.486.7403) WASHINGTON PARK

Washington Park can accommodate thousands throughout its commons, which includes a pool and a 300-person auditorium. The Chicago Parks District handles booking. (5531 South Martin Luther King Drive, 773.256.1897)

Private Clubs





Kettering Hall, the largest area at this venue, has a stage and seats 220 or holds 330 for receptions. The patio, which can be tented, holds 120, and an adjacent foyer has a fireplace. (415 West 8th St., Hinsdale, 630.323.7500)

Sequestered on the 66th and 67th floors of the Willis Tower, this club offers sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline. Its 3,225-square-foot Oak Room was renovated in 2006. The venue can accommodate parties of as many as 800. (233 South Wacker Drive, 312.876.3200)

Cathedral Hall—the largest space at this 14-story venue— holds 400. Several smaller spaces are also available. Groups must be sponsored by a member, or the host must be a member of either the University Club or a club with reciprocal privileges. (76 East Monroe St., 312.726.2840)

Two of the four rooms available at this club can be combined into a 2,800-square-foot space—along with a 1,750-square-foot terrace that overlooks the Chicago River. The space seats 250. In warmer months, the rooftop holds 1,000. (500 North Kingsbury St., 312.527.5800)



In the Aon Center, this space offers a bird’s-eye view of the city. The 8,000-square-foot main hall holds 620 and can be divided. Seven other rooms can accommodate smaller groups. (200 East Randolph St., 8th Floor, 312.861.1100)

This venue opened in 1913. It can host as many as 250. The first floor holds 150 in two adjoining rooms, and the second-floor grand ballroom holds 250. (1702 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847.475.3801)




The Prairie-style room of this North Shore venue seats 200 or holds 300 for receptions. In the warmer months, groups can take over the lawn for receptions or seated functions. (410 Kenilworth Ave., Kenilworth, 847.251.1227)

Events at this club must be sponsored by a member. The club has a dozen meeting rooms and 24 spaces for meal functions. The main dining room and grand ballroom each hold 600. (320 South Plymouth Court, 312.427.9100)

Open since 1910, this club is in a residential area of Wilmette. The 200-seat auditorium was added in 1929. The adjacent dining room can be used for a pre-event reception. (930 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette, 847.251.0527)


Religious Spaces

This downtown club has three ballrooms, the largest of which holds 400. Several smaller salons, dining areas, and lounges can accommodate more intimate events. Nonmembers must be sponsored by a member to hold a function. (65 West Jackson Blvd., 312.427.7800)

invite guests to catch a glimpse of their lives through retreats or during a stay at their bed-and-breakfast. The B&B is a seven-room apartment with three bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room, and a private entrance. (311 South Aberdeen St., 773.927.7424) TECHNY TOWERS CONFERENCE & RETREAT CENTER



This 72-room house is on 80 acres of wooded countryside. The venue has a 2,500-square-foot conference center and five additional meeting rooms. The house is open to renting the space to religious and civic groups. (420 West County Line Road, Barrington, 847.381.1261)

Founded in 1929, this synagogue is a popular location for citywide religious events. A large stained-glass window depicting Hebraic symbolism looks into a modern sanctuary that seats 500 people. (16 South Clark St., 312.346.7370)

This retreat center has 72 guest rooms, 22 of which are in a private guest house, with its own chapel and meeting room. The largest of 12 meeting rooms holds 150. The on-site Church of the Holy Spirit seats 700. (2001 Waukegan Road, Techny, 847.272.1100)




This lakefront synagogue was remodeled in 2001 to add more flexible event space with movable walls. The space can be condensed to create an 80-seat chapel or expanded into the main sanctuary, which holds 1,000. (5959 North Sheridan Road, 773.561.5173)

This building in West Rogers Park houses the Temple Menorah congregation, as well as an Orthodox Hebrew day school, making it the only place in the city where Reform and Orthodox Jews share a space. There is a member’s lounge, and a social hall seats 250 for events. (200 West Sherwin Ave., 773.761.5700)

This Bridgeport retreat center has a large chapel, kitchen facilities, a 30-seat dining room, and 11 bedrooms that can accommodate as many as 27 for overnight stays. The staff can customize retreat experiences to specific groups and topics. (2834 South Normal Ave., 312.225.3099) CENACLE RETREAT AND CONFERENCE CENTER

Founded by the Cenacle Sisters in 1920, this house has 56 rooms and a four-room suite for overnight guests. The venue has two large meeting rooms, as well as 12 smaller rooms. The main chapel seats 300 and a smaller chapel seats 40. (513 West Fullerton Pkwy., 773.528.6300)

72 summer 2010


This 19th-century church adjacent to the University of Chicago commonly hosts events for nonprofit and educational organizations. The sanctuary seats 400; the social hall holds 180. (5600 South Woodlawn Ave., 773.363.6063) MONASTERY OF THE HOLY CROSS

This monastery houses five Benedictine monks, who


This chapel can be rented to members of the college community. The chapel, opened in 1928, features stone and concrete pillars, intricate wood carvings, over 100 unique sculptures, and a painted vaulted ceiling. The space seats 1,700. (5850 South Woodlawn Ave., 773.702.2100)

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space



A farm-to-table Mexican restaurant, this 45-seat venue offers sharable plates of seasonal items. The B.Y.O.B. basement-level space is available for full buyouts. (3023 North Broadway St., 773.296.6901) CHINA GRILL



This Old Town eateries bright, modern dining room is decorated with festive wall paintings, and the menu offers traditional Mexican dishes. The restaurant has a sidewalk patio and three private dining rooms seating 30, 40, and 75. (1610 North Wells St., 312.266.7999)

Boka offers an upscale take on contemporary American cuisine. The main dining room seats 65, and an outdoor space seats 36. Various sections of the restaurant can be rented for events ranging from intimate terrace dinners to receptions for 200. (1729 North Halsted St., 312.337.6070)



This restaurant offers a lengthy menu of Mexican favorites, but is just as popular for its stiff tequila cocktails. The spacious venue includes four private dining rooms that seat 25, 35, 45, and 120, and the entire venue can be rented for 300. (2005 West Division St., 773.252.9990)

In 2009, this bistro opened in a converted library. With brick walls, black-and-white photographs, wooden bistro tables, and leather banquettes, the restaurant seats more than 150. The main dining room seats 80 and an atrium seats 40. (1371 West Chicago Ave., 312.850.2700)



This 24,000-square-foot Mediterranean eatery opened in 2007. Alhambra’s seven rooms range from a 6,000-squarefoot banquet hall to a 50-seat private bar. Belly dancing, salsa, and live jazz take place nightly in the 500-seat Alhambra Room. (1240 West Randolph St., 312.666.9555)

At this 300-seat River North steak house, guests choose from 16 meats served in the traditional Brazilian rodizio style—offered tableside on top of hot embers. A semiprivate room seats 75. (539 North Dearborn St., 312.595.9000)


The Bristol opened in September 2009 in Wicker Park. The venue’s second level can seat 65 or host 100 for cocktails, and full buyouts can accommodate 200 guests. (2152 North Damen Ave., 773.862.5555)

James Beard award-winning chef Grant Achatz runs this 70-seat downtown restaurant. The 12-course tasting menu runs the gamut from coconut-licorice trout roe to red-curry persimmons. The sleek black dining room has a 12-seat private room. (1723 North Halsted St., 312.867.0110) ATHENA GREEK RESTAURANT5

This Greektown restaurant serves up gigantic portions of Greek specialties such as kebabs, seafood, and lamb dishes. Athena has an always-buzzing atmosphere. Two private rooms seat 50, a third seats 100, and the patio seats 120. (212 South Halsted St., 312.655.0000) ATWOOD CAFÉ5

Inside the Loop’s historic Hotel Burnham, the 70-seat Atwood Café serves contemporary American comfort food. The Reliance Room, for private dining, seats 32 or holds 50 for cocktail receptions. A patio seats 24. (1 West Washington St., 312.368.1900) AVENUES

Within the Peninsula Chicago, Avenues is one of the city’s top culinary destinations. Chef Graham Elliot Bowles has created a menu of uncomplicated dishes made with pristine ingredients. The dining room seats 72 while a private room seats 14. (108 East Superior St., 312.573.6754) NEW BENNY’S CHOP HOUSE

Benny’s Chop House opened in April 2010. A front bar area can host receptions for 100, and the main dining room seats 180. In back, a private dining room with wireless Internet and a flat-screen TV can seat 40 to 50. (444 North Wabash Ave., 312.626.2444) BEN PAO

Red columns and floral decoration accent the dining room at this restaurant, which serves four Chinese cuisines: Cantonese, Mongolian, Shanghai, and Szechuan. Circular lazy Susan tables make for amiable group dining. A private room seats 75. (52 West Illinois St., 312.222.1888) BETWEEN BOUTIQUE CAFÉ AND LOUNGE

In 2007, this cafe began offering shareable plates of global comfort fare. Belgian meatballs and rum-spiked bubble teas are served in a sultry 1,800-square-foot environment bathed in red hues. Feathery chandeliers hang above. (1324 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.292.0585) BICE5

This casual spot serves new takes on familiar Italian favorites in the Magnificent Mile neighborhood. It seats 180 inside and 40 on the patio. The restaurant’s private dining room seats 140, and Bice also offers catering and banquet services. (158 East Ontario St., 312.664.1474) NEW THE BIG EASY

The Big Easy opened in Hyde Park in January 2010. Available for buyout, the space can host seated events for 93 or buffets for 130. At the marble-topped bar, staffers prepare Southern cocktails such as hurricanes. (1660 East 55th St., 773.643.5500) BIN 36

The focus is on the vino at this River North restaurant, lounge, and wine store. The main “tavern” space features a zinc-topped oval bar and 35-foot ceilings, and diners can also opt for the cozier “cellar” in the basement. The secondfloor loft seats 125. (339 North Dearborn St., 312.327.0459) BISTRO 110



This boisterous Lincoln Park restaurant is popular for shareable Spanish tapas and paella served in a bustling atmosphere. The sprawling space has private and semiprivate rooms that seat 10 to 300 guests. (2024 North Halsted St., 773.935.5000) CAFÉ BIONDA

Italian for “blonde woman,” this 80-seat Wicker Park eatery has Tuscan yellow walls, French doors, and a tin ceiling to set an Old World setting for down-home Southern Italian cooking. (1924 South State St., 312.326.9800) CALITERRA BAR AND GRILLE

Inside the Wyndham Hotel, this restaurant serves Chef Anthony Sclezo’s menu of brick-oven pizzas, meat, and seafood. The dining room includes a wine room that seats 20. (633 North St. Clair St., 312.274.4444) CAPITAL GRILLE5

In 2009, upscale steak-house chain Capital Grille opened a Rosemont location. The restaurant offers three private dining rooms with capacities ranging from 12 to 34 guests. A 40-seat patio opened last summer. (5340 North River Road, Rosemont, 847.671.8125) CARMINE’S5

This Gold Coast restaurant serves large portions of Italian food in the lively ground-floor bar and the quieter mezzanine. Two private rooms seat 45 and 70, and a patio offers additional seating. (1043 North Rush St., 312.988.7676) CARNIVALE

This 15,000-square-foot restaurant serves dishes from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Cuba, and Spain. The colorful space has seven private dining rooms, including the Samba Room, which holds 275, and three salons that each hold 45 for receptions. The entire restaurant holds 1,000. (702 West Fulton Market, 312.850.3879) CASTAWAYS5

Open each year from May to October, this breezy, boatshaped beachfront restaurant operated by Phil Stefani offers tropical drinks and a Jimmy Buffett cover band. The rooftop space can be rented for private events for 50 to 500. (1603 North Lake Shore Drive, 773.281.1200) CATCH 35

A downtown setting in the Leo Burnett Building draws a suited crowd to this seafood restaurant, where a jazz pianist starts playing as soon as work lets out. A private dining room seats 150, and the entire restaurant can be rented for 300. (35 West Wacker Drive, 312.346.3500) NEW CERE’S TABLE

Open since fall 2009, Ceres’ Table offers seating for 78. Chef Giuseppe Scurato, formerly of Boka, oversees a menu of Sicilian fare such as gnocchi with rabbit confit and country-style paté. (4882 North Clark St., 773.878.4882) CHALKBOARD

As the seasons change, so does the menu at Chalkboard, a contemporary American restaurant in North Center. The white-tablecloth joint is dressed up with chandeliers and Byzantine gold wallpaper. The intimate space seats 55. (4343 North Lincoln Ave., 773.477.7144)

The Chicago outpost of this splashy chain is the in-house restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel. The restaurant can accommodate 100 for semiprivate dining, and 250 for private dining. (230 North Michigan Ave., 312.334.6700) NEW CHIZAKAYA

Chizakaya was slated to open in July 2010. Chef Harold Jurado prepares small plates with local ingredients, such as his sashimi made with Dietzler Farms calf’s liver. A back room holds 25. (3056 North Lincoln Ave., 773.477.6400) C-HOUSE5

In May 2009, chef Marcus Samuelsson and Townhouse Restaurant Group opened this modern seafood house in the newly renovated Affinia Chicago hotel. When combined, the main dining room, bar, and lounge seat 85. A patio seats 24. (166 East Superior St., 312.523.0923) NEW CIBO MATTO

On the second floor of the Loop’s Wit hotel, Cibo Matto is Italian for “crazy food.” Open since July 2009, the restaurant houses a private dining room with seating for 16. (201 North State St., 312.239.9500) CITIZEN BAR5

Two separate outdoor areas provide a combined 5,400 square feet of space at this very modern venue: A side patio holds 160, and the rooftop holds around 150. Citizen Bar opened in 2006. (364 West Erie St., 312.640.1156) NEW CITYGATE GRILLE

Executive chef David Sapp oversees a menu of Mediterranean-influenced fare. The restaurant is located in the same mixed-use complex that houses Hotel Arista. (2020 Calamos Court, Naperville, 630.718.1010) COCO PAZZO

Chef Tony Priolo turns out some of the city’s most acclaimed antipasti, pizzas, homemade pastas, and Tuscan specialties at this River North restaurant. A private party room seats 80; the entire restaurant holds 200. (300 West Hubbard St., 312.836.0900) CROFTON ON WELLS

At her River North restaurant, chef Suzy Crofton serves seasonal American cuisine influenced by her 16 years of French training. The main dining room seats 80; a private dining room seats 40. (535 North Wells St., 312.755.1790) CUSTOM HOUSE

Custom House was opened by the James Beard Foundation’s 2006 best Midwestern chef, Shawn McClain. The restaurant has two circular booths for as many as 12. A separate room holds 60, and the main dining room holds 120. (500 South Dearborn St., 312.523.0200) CYRANO’S

This French bistro run by Didier and Jamie Durand features a menu inspired by the Bergerac region of southwestern France. The main dining room seats 85, and two private rooms on the lower level hold 60 and double as a Parisian cabaret. (546 North Wells St., 312.467.0546) DAVID BURKE’S PRIMEHOUSE

In the James Hotel, this steak house from chef David Burke and New York’s B.R. Guest restaurant group is named for Prime, the 2,500-pound bull from whom all Primehouse beef is descended. The dining room has 65 seats. (616 North Rush St., 312.660.6000) DELUX

Along Milwaukee Avenue’s industrial corridor, this 100-person venue is as eclectic as its neighborhood. The menu offers traditional bar fare as well as comfort foods like mac and cheese and a homemade cookie dessert. (669 North Milwaukee Ave., 312.850.4008) DEVON SEAFOOD GRILL

Sean Thomas oversees a fresh-seafood menu at the Gold Coast outpost of this national chain. A banquet menu is available in the elegant Bernadine room, which seats 80; a second private party room seats 22; and two semiprivate alcoves seat 10 each. (39 East Chicago Ave., 312.440.8660) D4 IRISH PUB & CAFÉ5

This Streeterville pub was named after the zip code of the Dublin neighborhood one of the owners hails from. D4 has brass chandeliers, high leather banquettes, and two fireplaces; it can hold as many as 250 guests and has a patio. (345 East Ohio St., 312.624.8385) DINE

In the West Loop’s Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro hotel, Dine is a 1940s-style diner complete with roomy, highback booths and some upscale twists, including a 78-seat martini bar and long banquettes. A private dining room seats 35. (733 West Madison St., 312.602.2100)

Bistro 110 is available for buyout and can hold 400. The main dining room, decorated with a mural from artist Judith Rifka, seats 175; the smaller Garden Room seats 90; and the Vavro Lounge can host receptions for 25. (110 East Pearson St., 312.335.5036)




In the modern dining room at this West Loop restaurant, James Beard award-winning chef Paul Kahan presents a seafood-heavy menu. A private party room seats 48. (619 West Randolph St., 312.715.0708)

In a restored Victorian brownstone, this Chicago institution is decorated with 1,400 photos of the city’s mayors, celebrities, and power brokers. A private dining room is available for 80. (60 West Ontario St., 312.787.7100)

The Bortz Entertainment Group opened Dos Diablos in River North in the spring of 2010. The casual Tex-Mex restaurant is decked with tin ceilings and Mexican artifacts. The venue serves homemade tamales, fajitas, and frozen margaritas. (15 West Hubbard St., 312.245.5252)




This seafood spot from B.R. Guest restaurant group has a contemporary feel punctuated by industrial steel accents, large mirrors, and dark wood. Two private dining rooms seat 14 and 22. (520 North Dearborn St., 312.777.1400)

This 1905 South Loop firehouse has been transformed into a unique open dining room. The banquet kitchen seats 175, the main dining room holds 130, and two private rooms seat 16 and 20. (1401 South Michigan Ave., 312.786.1401)

This Chinese restaurant’s seats 130 on the ground floor and 200 upstairs, while the entire venue holds 350. At 10 p.m., the tables are pushed aside and the space morphs into Flybar, a nightclub. (832 West Randolph St., 312.455.1400)

This eatery has three dining rooms that seat 32 each, and the private dining salon seats 34. The Studio Kitchen (adjacent to the restaurant) can accommodate groups of eight to 20. (816 West Armitage Ave., 773.248.6228)

NEW DOS DIABLOS summer 2010 73

Chicago Venue Directory

Restaurants DUCHAMP5

The former Meritage Café in Bucktown reopened as Duchamp in July 2008. A private dining room seats as many as 35 at a communal table. The entire restaurant holds 180. The menu features contemporary American dishes. (2118 North Damen Ave., 773.235.6434) DUNLAYS ON CLARK5

This Lincoln Park bar and grill creates contemporary takes on classic American food. The restaurant is available for buyouts for as many as 200, with space for an additional 90 on the patio. (2600 North Clark St., 773.883.6000) DUNLAYS ON THE SQUARE5

An upscale comfort-food menu is served at this Logan Square spin-off of the Dunlays restaurant in Lincoln Park. The entire venue holds 200, with space for an additional 90 on the patio. (3137 West Logan Blvd., 773.227.2400) EIVISSA5

Bilevel tapas restaurant Eivissa opened in Old Town in May 2009. It holds 400 indoors, and a patio seats an additional 45. The first-floor bar can be rented for receptions for 70. Upstairs, a private dining room holds 250. (1531 North Wells St., 312.654.9500)

the top level of the Gold Coast department store. The 5,0000-square-foot space seats 120 in its main dining room. A semiprivate space with a drop-down projection screen seats 24. (15 East Oak St., 312.587.1700)

ties such as bo la lot—marinated ground beef wrapped in a leaf and grilled over a flame tableside. A private space seats 50. (1055 West Argyle St., 773.561.4077)


Chef Rick Bayless pioneered the gourmet Mexican movement at this River North restaurant and its next-door sister, Topolobampo. Filled with colorful sculptures and paintings, the main dining room seats 65. The private Morales Room seats 40. (445 North Clark St., 312.661.1434)

Established in 1986 in River North, the Hard Rock Cafe seats 440 or holds 600 for receptions. The mezzanine holds 175, while the Hard Rock Stage holds 45 and a patio holds 120. The venue offers state-of-the-art audiovisual services, catering, entertainment, and customized event merchandise for private events. (63 West Ontario, 312.943.2252)



This massive Mexican spot opened in April 2009. The lower-level tequila lounge seats 300; on the main floor, a dining room seats 100. A margarita bar leads to a 40-seat semiprivate space, while a 60-seat private room is also available. The second-level V Live lounge can hold 300. On the third floor, a live music venue offers a stage and space for 1,000. (2047 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.252.1122)

Named for the late Chicago Cubs announcer, this giant River North eatery features more than 1,500 pieces of baseball memorabilia. Four private rooms hold as many as 250, and the entire second floor can be reserved for 400. (33 West Kinzie St., 312.828.0966)


This seafood and steak house on the banks of the Chicago River offers impressive downtown views. Seven private dining rooms accommodate groups of 10 to 300, while the entire restaurant holds 1,500. Food is also served on the riverside patio. (315 North LaSalle St., 312.822.1417)



Hearty, a restaurant from the owners of Hearty Boys Caterers, began dinner service in November 2009. The 60-seat Wrigleyville venue is decked with sea-glass subway tiles, a mahogany bar, and exposed brick walls. Owners describe the menu as “upscale American comfort food.” (3819 North Broadway Ave., 773.244.9866) HEAVEN ON SEVEN

In River North’s Felix hotel, Elate opened in August 2009. Serving dressed-up American fare, the venue has a zigzag bar as its focal point. The entire space seats 80; a patio seats an additional 54. (111 West Huron St., 312.447.3440)

The Gage Restaurant and Tavern serves contemporary gastropub fare. Reclaimed subway tiles give the bilevel space a charming vintage feel. The restaurant holds 400, and two private rooms seat 40 and 80. (24 South Michigan Ave., 312.372.4243)

Jimmy Bannos has been serving Louisiana cuisine at his three restaurants since 1980. Guests are served Cajun favorites like Mardi Gras jambalaya and po’boy sandwiches. (111 North Wabash, 7th Floor, 312.263.6443; 600 North Michigan Ave., 2nd Floor, 312.280.7774; 224 South Main St., Naperville, Ill., 630.717.0777)



HUB 51

Owned by the nightlife savants of Eat Well, Drink Better, this trilevel gastropub specializes in English-influenced eats like Newcastle-battered onion rings. The second and third floors each hold 100. The venue can accommodate 300 amid billiard tables and formal or booth seating. (444 North LaSalle St., 312.222.6200)

This casual Jefferson Park institution has been reeling in a regular crowd since 1963 with its signature barbecue ribs. Buffets or plated banquet specials are available for groups of 25 or more, and the entire restaurant can be rented for as many as 50. (4914 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.725.1300)

Brothers Jerrod and R.J. Melman, sons of Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melman, opened this 10,000-squarefoot bilevel restaurant in 2008. The ground level seats 200. Perched off the main dining area, the elevated greenroom has its own bar and holds 40. The downstairs lounge, Sub 51, holds 99. (51 West Hubbard St., 312.828.0051)


This romantic fondue restaurant in Lincoln Park is adjacent to the Park West, a popular concert and event space. It does not have a private dining room, but the three main rooms of the cozy subterranean space seat as many as 100. (340 West Armitage Ave., 773.281.9101)


In December 2009, contemporary American restaurant Epic took over a former mill in River North. The 14,000-square-foot venue holds 600. A lounge area seats 40, and a mezzanine seats 50. Above the second-floor dining room, which seats 115, another semiprivate mezzanine seats 60. (112 West Hubbard St., 312.222.4940) ERIE CAFÉ5

A hidden spot facing the Chicago River, the Erie Café has a clubby Italian steak house vibe popular among businesspeople and families. The private dining room seats 120, and the scenic patio can be reserved for 75. (536 West Erie St., 312.266.2300)




Open since September 2009, Lincoln Park’s Gemini Bistro offers a menu of American dishes with French and Italian nuances. The venue seats 99 and is decorated with Edison light fixtures, tweed banquettes, and a gold marble bar. A patio seats 40. (2075 North Lincoln Ave., 773.525.2522) GENE AND GEORGETTI


This steak-and-seafood establishment serves a menu of lobster, a raw bar, and, yes, frog’s legs. The oak-paneled restaurant features live blues music on the piano nightly, offers sidewalk seating, and has six private dining rooms that hold 12 to 200. (1024 North Rush St., 312.640.0999) IL MULINO

New York’s Il Mulino brought its famed Italian fare to the Gold Coast in 2006. In the historic Biggs Mansion, the restaurant is staffed with tuxedoed waiters and full of details like working fireplaces. Private dining for groups of 10 to 150 takes place in upstairs rooms, and full buyouts are available. (1150 North Dearborn St., 312.440.8888)

Open since October 2009, Eve specializes in contemporary American fare. A semiprivate space seats 3, and a private room seats 18. The entire restaurant seats 100 or holds 120 for cocktails. (840 North Wabash Ave., 312.266.3383)

Open since 1941, this River North steak house serves a menu of steak, seafood, and Italian specialties in a casual and homey setting decorated with photos of the Windy City. The Chicago Room holds 70, while the adjacent fireplace room holds 40, and the wood-paneled bar holds 20. (500 North Franklin St., 312.527.3718)



This 40th-floor restaurant at the top of the Chicago Stock Exchange offers impressive views of the city. French chef Jean Joho serves a seven-course tasting menu, and six private dining rooms offer space for as many as 100. (440 South LaSalle St., 312.663.8920)

With plaid tablecloths and walls covered in framed photographs of celebrity fans, Gibsons has six private dining rooms and holds 200. Gibsons opened an Oakbrook location in June 2010. The restaurant has a patio that seats 180. Inside, a large private dining room seats 100 and can host receptions for 175. (1028 North Rush St., 312.266.8999; Oakbrook: 2150 Spring Road, Oakbrook, 630.954.0000)



In July 2009, Ukrainian Village brunch spot Jam took over the former Dodo space. With plexiglass chairs and an open kitchen, the modern venue offers garden seating. Down the line, owners plan to host midnight brunches in the space. Jam can accommodate 36 for seated dinners. (937 North Damen Ave., 773.489.0302)



The Fifth is the fifth restaurant from the owners of Volo, Paramount Room, and Kitsch’n. Open since October 2009, the 75-seat American restaurant offers a menu of dishes that are prepared with only five ingredients. (600 West Chicago Ave., 312.644.1500) FIREPLACE INN5

This Old Town institution, open since 1970, offers a lengthy steak-and-seafood menu. The casual dining room holds 100, and there’s space for an additional 90 on the sidewalk patio. (1448 North Wells St., 312.664.5264) FLATWATER5

Flatwater, open since 2006, is on the Chicago River waterfront. The 4,000-square-foot contemporary American restaurant has a Brazilian walnut floor, flagstone detailing, a fireplace, and a green onyx bartop. Flatwater seats 270, and open patio and terrace spaces each accommodate 90. (321 North Clark St., 312.644.0283) FLEMING’S PRIME STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR

This bilevel Chicago steakhouse offers 100 wines by the glass and has four rooms for private dining: the 36-seat State Room, the 16-seat Rush Room, the 24-seat Michigan Room, and the 24-seat Dearborn Room. Rooms can be combined to seat 60. (25 East Ohio St., 312.329.9463) NEW FLORIAN OPERA BISTRO

On the Civic Opera House’s third-level dress circle, the casual Florian Opera Bistro displays photographs and costumes from past Lyric opera productions. Jewell Events Catering’s provides a menu of seasonal dishes. The bistro, open since September 2009, seats 136 and can host receptions for 150. (20 North Wacker Drive, 312.827.3580) FOODLIFE AT WATER TOWER PLACE

This mega-eatery at the Water Tower Place features 14 kitchens that churn out different types of cuisine, from Italian to Mexican to Thai. Three private dining rooms are available for parties of various sizes, and the entire restaurant holds 400. (835 North Michigan Ave., 312.355.3663) FRED’S AT BARNEY’S NEW YORK

Open since April 2009, this American restaurant occupies

74 summer 2010

Across the street from the Merchandise Mart, American restaurant Gilt Bar opened in February 2010 and unveiled its lower-level cocktail lounge in May 2010. Decked with candles, antique mirrors, and tufted leather sofas, the underground space can host private events for 50. (230 West Kinzie St., 312.464.9544) OPENING SOON GIRL AND THE GOAT

Girl and the Goat will open in the West Loop in the summer of 2010. Chef Stephanie Izard, winner of the fourth season of Top Chef, will offer a menu of Mediterranean-inspired small plates. With exposed brick walls and timber accents, the 4,400-square-foot-venue will seat 125 and host receptions for 175. An elevated semiprivate area will seat 30. (809-813 West Randolph St.) GRAHAM ELLIOT

Chef Graham Elliot Bowles opened this 140-seat restaurant in June 2008. A semiprivate space with leather banquettes seats 60. An elevated chef’s table in the corner seats eight. Attached to the semiprivate room, a curtained-off wine salon seats 25. (217 West Huron St., 312.624.9975) GREEK ISLANDS

This Greektown establishment, open since 1971, features an open kitchen, family-style dining, and a lengthy traditional menu crafted from imported Greek olive oil, herbs, cheeses, and seafood. The restaurant seats 200, with a private room for 120. (200 South Halsted St., 312.782.9855) GREEN ZEBRA

This dining spot has a menu from chef-owner Shawn McClain, with items like curried cauliflower soup and fried quince wonton, all paired with nonalcoholic beverages like iced hibiscus tea and pink peppercorn-thyme soda. There’s a full wine and spirits list, as well. A private room seats 40. (1460 West Chicago Ave., 312.243.7100) HAI YEN

This Vietnamese-Chinese restaurant features a wide array of soup and noodle dishes, as well as house special-


Italiasia opened in River North’s Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza in May 2009. The restaurant offers a menu of Asian-inspired Italian fare. The venue holds 170; semiprivate areas seat 10 to 50 guests; and a private wine room seats eight. (350 West Mart Center Drive, 312.529.1157) In October 2009, the venue formerly known as Jacky’s Bistro reopened as Jacky’s on Prairie. The 3,000-squarefoot restaurant specializes in seasonal cuisine made with local ingredients. The venue has a 21-seat bar and a wine cellar. (2545 Prairie Ave., Evanston, 847.733.0899) NEW JAM5


Vibrant colors fuse tradition and modernity in three rooms at this Japanese restaurant. The red room holds 150 and houses a sushi bar. The green room holds 175. A lounge holds 175. (600 West Chicago Ave., 312.822.9600) NEW JIMMY GREEN’S BAR & GRILL

Jimmy Green’s Bar and Grill offers 22 TVs and a projection screen. The menu offers burgers, pizza, calamari, and Italian specialties ranging from pasta dishes to meatball subs; the bar slings more than 50 kinds of beer. (825 South State St., 312.386.9000) KAMEHACHI STREETERVILLE

This is the largest outpost of Kamehachi, a popular local sushi chain. Guests dine on sushi à la carte, and there is a lengthy menu of noodle, teriyaki, and tempura dishes. Three private rooms each seat 30. (240 East Ontario St., 312.587.0600) KARYN’S RAW VEGAN GOURMET RESTAURANT

Karyn Calabrese was at the forefront of the raw food movement, and her Lincoln Park space is devoted to all things healthy. There’s a restaurant, a deli, a spa, and a yoga studio. The restaurant can host private parties for as many as 35. (1901 North Halsted St., 312.255.1590) NEW KITH & KIN

Kith & Kin opened on Webster Avenue in December 2009. Formerly of California’s French Laundry restaurant, chef David Carrier prepares a seasonal menu of high-end comfort food. At the back of the venue, a 40-seat private dining room has its own bar and fireplace. Carrier will prepare anything from casual brunches to five-course dinners for groups. (1119 West Webster Ave., 773.472.7070)

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space




This steak and seafood house features black leather booths, wood paneling, and a granite and cherrywood bar. Two private rooms hold 50 while a third holds 30. The adjacent Keefer’s Kaffe serves coffee, soup, and sandwiches. (20 West Kenzie St., 312.467.9525)

Lux Bar is full of wood, brass, and glass. Menu highlights include buttermilk-fried chicken and barbecue baby back ribs. The bar area, the fireplace room, and the restaurant’s upstairs may be reserved for private events for 100. (18 East Bellevue St., 312.642.3400)

Near Cellular Field, Nana opened in summer 2009 as a breakfast-and-lunch spot. The organic restaurant has a 40-seat sidewalk café that can be booked for private events. (3267 South Halsted St., 312.929.2486)



This restaurant features mocha leather booths, blackand-white photos of Chicago landmarks, and French doors opening onto the sidewalk patio. The main dining room can host events for 150, the separate bar holds 100, a private dining room holds 60, and an additional private room holds 80. (400 North Wells St., 312.822.0191)

This French bistro serves an array of Parisian classics. Its interior channels 1960s Paris with vintage black-andwhite wallpaper and French flea market finds. A patio seats 100. Inside, a back room holds 75, while the front room seats 25. (22 East Hubbard St., 312.755.0007)

Nella Pizzeria Napoletana opened in November 2009. Owner Nella Grasano bakes pies in a 12,000-pound oven made of imported bricks from near Mount Vesuvius. At the back of the restaurant, a private room can seat groups of 24 or 36. (2423 North Clark St., 773.327.3400)


The River North location of this national chain places it near many popular downtown attractions. Maggiano’s serves classic Italian fare. Its 10 private rooms seat as many as 300. (516 North Clark St., 312.644.7700)

Set in the Chase Center, this eatery provides city views. The lengthy fresh seafood menu runs the gamut from tempura shrimp skewers to broiled Australian lobster tail. The dining room seats 350, and three private rooms seat between 30 and 175. (51 South Clark St., 312.621.0200)



Temporarily closed since March 2010, this lively River North restaurant will reopen soon at a new North Wells location. Mambo serves a pan-Latin menu (with a focus on Cuba and Mexico). A private party room seats 40. (410 North Wells St., 312.467.9797)

This contemporary American steak house has a 20-foot waterfall, a circular champagne and caviar bar, a silverleaf dome ceiling, and circular columns with mirrored mosaics. Upstairs, Ghostbar is a sleek lounge lit in silvers, grays, and greens that serves as an after-dinner lounge or a private party space. Private event spaces at both venues can accommodate groups of 15 to 800. (440 West Randolph St., 312.575.9900)

The South Loop branch of this local mini chain offers a dining room filled with sports memorabilia, along with a menu of burgers, sandwiches, thin-crust pizzas, and milk shakes. Twenty flat-screen TVs make the bar a popular sports-watching hangout, and the entire venue can be rented for 270. (1736 South Michigan Ave., 312.235.1400) LA CANTINA

Part of the Italian Village Restaurants complex in the Loop, this enoteca serves a diverse menu focused on seafood. Two private rooms seat 25 and 36, while the main dining room, where booths surround lit saltwater aquariums, can be rented for 150. (71 West Monroe St., 312.332.7005) LA MADIA

This contemporary pizzeria occupies a 4,200-square-foot space in River North. The main dining room seats 125, and a private wine and pizza tasting room is available. Chef and owner Jonathan Fox was formerly the C.O.O. of Maggiano’s Little Italy. (59 West Grand Ave., 312.329.0400) LANDMARK

The loftlike feel of this restaurant is punctuated by brick walls, exposed ceiling beams, and a catwalk lined with carved wooden railings. Landmark serves contemporary American food and will host semiprivate and private events for up to 500. (1633 North Halsted St., 312.587.1600) LA SARDINE

Across from Oprah Winfrey’s studio in West Town, this French bistro serves a menu featuring bouillabaisse, steamed mussels, and house-made ice cream and sorbet. A private room holds 30, and the main dining room can be rented for 100. (111 North Carpenter St., 312.421.2800) LAS TABLAS

This authentic Colombian steak house opened in Irving Park in 1993 (and later produced an offshoot in Lincoln Park). The casual, artsy dining room hosts live Latin music on weekend evenings and can be rented for 150, while a separate private party room holds 80. (4920 West Irving Park Road, 773.202.0999) NEW LA TRATTORIA DEL MERLO

La Trattoria del Merlo opened in Lincoln Park in December 2009. The restaurant specializes in Bolognese fare made with imported ingredients. The space can seat 100 guests or host 140 for cocktails. For smaller groups, a back dining room seats 32 and a lower-level area can seat 20. (1967 North Halstead St., 312.951.8200) LE COLONIAL5

This French-Vietnamese restaurant is set in a two-story Gold Coast row house. The ground-floor dining room seats 95, while the second-floor bar and lounge holds 75 and includes a seasonal terrace—open-air in the summer, glass-enclosed in the winter—with seating for 22. (937 North Rush St., 312.255.0088) LEO’S CONEY ISLAND5

Based in Detroit, Leo’s Coney Island opened its first Chicago location in 2009. Occupying a space in Lakeview’s Southport Corridor, the venue dishes out a casual menu of hot dogs, fries, burgers, and chili. The restaurant seats 100 inside, and there is a patio for outdoor dining. (3455 North Southport Ave., 773.281.5367) NEW LM LE RESTAURANT5

LM Le Restaurant opened in the former Talluhlah space in October 2009. Chef Bradford Phillips offers a menu of contemporary French cuisine. An enclosed garden area, open three seasons a year, seats 32; the entire restaurant can host 120 for cocktails or 80 for seated dinners. (4539 North Lincoln Ave., 773.942.7585) NEW LOKAL

Lokal opened in Bucktown in October 2009. With seating for 60, the restaurant has a contemporary Polish menu. The mostly white space is dressed up with oversize light fixtures and touches of red and black. Small lounge areas throughout the space can be reserved for groups of 10. (1904 West North Ave., 773.719.7494) NEW LONGMAN & EAGLE

A combined pub, restaurant, and inn in Logan Square, Longman & Eagle opened in stages. it’s the restaurant arrived first, in January 2010; the upper-level guest rooms debuted later that spring. With an open kitchen and hickory accents, the 1,000-square-foot eatery holds 80. (2657 North Kedzie Ave., 773.276.7110) NEW THE LUCKY MONK

The Lucky Monk opened in in December 2009. The restaurant and brewery focuses on pizza, burgers, and beer. Aria Group Architects decked the venue with earth tones and accents of wood and stone. The main dining room seats 220; a round bar with a granite top seats 40. (105 Hollywood Blvd., South Barrington, 847.898.0500)



This French brasserie is in West Town. Owner-designer Jerry Kleiner crafted a decor with muted primary colors and arty touches like wraparound murals on the columns and eccentric table centerpieces. A private room seats 120; the champagne room seats 10; and the entire restaurant can hold 150. (833 West Randolph St., 312.226.8399) MARKETHOUSE

In the DoubleTree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile, this 160-seat restaurant opened in February 2009. The semiprivate Heartland room, a circular space surrounded by red curtains, seats 21; the communal Harvest table can seat 14. (611 North Fairbanks Court, 312.224.2200) NEW MELANTHIOS GREEK CHARHOUSE

Melanthios Greek Charhouse opened in November 2009. Focused on southern Greek cuisine, the menu offers organic meats, grilled veggies, and specialties such as souvlaki and shish kebabs. The restaurant has three private dining rooms. (3116 North Broadway, 773.360.8572) NEW MERCADITO

Mercadito opened in September 2009. The first Chicago location of a New-York-based chain, the Mexican restaurant has 120 seats. Semiprivate dining can take place at a 14-seat communal table, or in a tequila lounge that seats 24 and looks out onto Kinzie Street through garage-style doors. (108 West Kinzie St., 312.329.9555) MERCAT A LA PLANXA

This South Loop hangout is an authentic Catalan tapas bar. The menu comes courtesy of Chicago native Jose Garces and includes traditional tapas, cured meats, cheeses, flatbreads, and an array of grilled dishes. A private dining area seats 16. (638 South Michigan Ave., 312.765.0524) MEXX KITCHEN AT THE WHISKEY

Rande Gerber looked for inspiration south of the border when designing this restaurant. Chef Richard Sandoval cooks up nuevo and tradicional Mexican dishes. The 100-seat restaurant features decor that mixes Mexican folk art with red velvet. (1015 North Rush St., 312.782.4933) MIDTOWN KITCHEN & BAR

Owned by Roger Greenfield and Ted Kasemir of Restaurants-America, this bilevel space opened in 2006. The 9,900-square-foot contemporary American restaurant holds 170 in the upstairs restaurant and 65 in the bar downstairs. (203 North LaSalle St., 312.379.5086) MIKE DITKA’S—TREMONT HOTEL

This homage to the legendary Chicago Bears coach is centrally located in the Gold Coast’s Tremont Hotel. The restaurant, decorated with football memorabilia, offers Ditka-brand cigars as well as steak, seafood, and a large wine list. Three private rooms seat 20, 60, and 80. (100 East Chestnut St., 312.587.8989) MIRABELL

This German restaurant in Irving Park, open since 1977, offers traditional bratwurst, goulash, and sauerbraten, as well as more adventurous dishes like beef tongue in Madeira wine sauce. The main dining room seats 108, and a private party room is available for 40. (3454 West Addison St., 773.463.1962) MIRAI SUSHI5

This sushi restaurant in Ukrainian Village is known for chef Jun Ichikawa’s avant-garde maki rolls. The former church has been transformed into a sleek, loungey dining room that seats 46, with room for 40 more in the loftlike second-floor space and an additional 30 seats on the sidewalk patio. (2020 West Division St., 773.862.8500) MK THE RESTAURANT

This former paint factory features brick walls, a vaulted ceiling, modern art, and leather furniture. Chef Michael Kornick’s modern American menu features innovate dishes such as crispy-skin maple-leaf duck breast. A private second-floor dining room offers Magnificent Mile views and seats 50. (868 North Franklin St., 312.483.9179) NACIONAL 27

This 6,500-square-foot restaurant and lounge is known for live music and salsa dancing. Its menu combines the flavors of 27 countries from South and Central America. Nacional 27 holds 250. (325 West Huron St., 312.664.2727)




This contemporary French restaurant in the Park Hyatt hotel features glass chandeliers by Dale Chihuly and a patio overlooking many of Chicago’s architectural masterpieces. The private dining rooms hold as many as 30. (800 North Michigan Ave., 312.239.4030) NORTH & CLARK CAFÉ

In February 2009, the Chicago History Museum unveiled its newly remodeled North & Clark Café. The venue can seat 80 guests or host 120 for receptions. The daily menu reflects local culinary traditions with items such as the 1893 World’s Fair brownie. Taste America caters all of the venue’s events. (1601 North Clark St., 312.642.4600) NORTH POND

This restaurant is in a former ice-skating warming shelter on the edge of Lincoln Park’s North Pond. Chef Bruce Sherman devotes his menu to seasonal, local ingredients. The 90-seat restaurant holds 110 for receptions. (2610 North Cannon Drive, 773.477.5845) OAK STREET BEACHSTRO5

This beachfront restaurant offers private dining areas and tents for groups of 25 to 3,000, and can provide custom menus. Oak Street Beachstro is open from May through the end of September. (Oak Street Beach, 312.915.4100) O’BRIENS5

This Old Town steak-and-seafood joint features a long mahogany bar, a cigar humidor, and nightly piano music. Five private and semiprivate spaces seat between 30 and 100, including the garden café, which seats 85 around a gazebo bar and is tented and heated during the winter. (1528 North Wells St., 312.787.3131) OLD OAK TAP5

This restaurant has a 1,500-square-foot beer garden. The first floor features a 30-foot river-rock-encrusted bar, a slate fireplace, and seating for 70. The second floor, which can be used as a private space for 50, features wraparound bench seating, a second wood-burning fireplace, and a full-service bar. (2109 West Chicago Ave., 773.772.0406) ONE SIXTYBLUE

Owned by Michael Jordan, this restaurant has two private rooms separated from the main room by floor-to-ceiling French doors. The larger room seats 50 or holds 80 for receptions. The 14-seat smaller room has a private entrance and salon. (1400 West Randolph St., 312.850.0303) ORSO’S5

This authentic Italian spot has an old-fashioned dining room featuring ornate chandeliers, a copper-plated ceiling, and Italian oil paintings. Trellised grape vines provide a shady ceiling in the garden, and a seasonal roof deck is also available. The restaurant holds 100 for private events. (1401 North Wells St., 312.787.6604) NEW ORVIETO

Named after a region of Italy that’s famous for white wine, Orvieto opened in September 2009. With a chef from Sardinia overseeing its menu, the 90-seat restaurant serves thin-crust pizzas, pastas, calamari, and Limoncello. (2200 North Ashland Ave., 773.395.0066) NEW ORVIETO PIZZERIA AND WINE BAR

This venue opened in the Green Dolphin Street jazz club in September 2009. Available for full buyout during the day, the venue can host seated luncheons for 80. Smaller lunches or dinners can take place in the private dining room, which seats 30, and in the wine room, which holds 22. (2200 North Ashland Ave., 773.395.0066 O’SHAUGHNESSY’S PUBLIC HOUSE

England native Michael Finan opened this pub in the Prickard China building in April 2008. O’Shaughnessy’s features stained glass from Ireland, serves Guinness and Irish whiskey, and offers traditional Irish eats. The main area seats 160. Two private rooms hold 75 each. (4557 North Ravenswood Ave., 773.944.9896) PADDY LONG’S

Owned by a Dublin native, this pub has an extensive beer list. The baby-blue facade with bright red doors channels summer 2010 75

Chicago Venue Directory

Restaurants the Irish countryside, and retro beer posters and knickknacks on the interior’s beige walls. The venue holds 100 for receptions. (1028 West Diversey Pkwy., 773.290.6988) THE PALM

Since 1980, this steak house in the Swissotel has been famous for the caricatures on its walls and its classic fare. The entire restaurant holds 90. Its two private dining rooms feature hardwood accents and views of Lake Michigan. (323 East Wacker Drive, 312.616.1000) NEW PANNENKOEKEN CAFE

Dutch for “pancakes,” Pannenkoeken recently opened a second location in Wicker Park. With green and yellow walls and wooden tulips, the cheery breakfast spot seats 50. (2257 West North Ave., 773.227.6600) PARAMOUNT ROOM5

Dine & Drink Inc. opened this restaurant in 2007. Paramount Room, which focuses on beer and gastropub fare, is 2,000 square feet and holds 100. The lower-level party room seats 32 or holds 40 for receptions. An outdoor space holds 50. (415 North Milwaukee Ave., 312.829.6300) PARK GRILL5

This American restaurant opened in 2004 in Millennium Park. It can accommodate groups as small as four in the founder’s room or as large as 1,500 in the outdoor Park Grill on the Plaza. (11 North Michigan Ave., 312.521.7289) NEW PASHA

Pasha opened in the West Loop in October 2009. The 90-seat restaurant offers a menu of Spanish fare. The venue offers a stage for live performances. (802 West Randolph St., 312.243.4442) PAZZO’S

The stunning atrium is a big attraction at this Mediterranean restaurant. The entire restaurant can be rented for groups of as many as 700. There are also two V.I.P. rooms that hold eight to 18 people. (311 South Wacker Drive, 312.913.1600) PEGASUS RESTAURANT AND TAVERNA5

Pegasus Restaurant and Taverna serves up traditional Greek cuisine. It’s popular for its veranda, which seats 160 during warm weather. The spacious indoor atmosphere resembles a classic Greek setting. The entire venue holds 202. (130 South Halsted St., 312.226.3377) NEW PELAGO RISTORANTE

Open since September 2009, Pelago seats 60 in the Raffaello Hotel. Decor includes blue damask banquettes, white leather chairs, chandeliers, and a mother-of-pearl fireplace. (201 East Delaware Place, 312.280.0700) PERENNIAL5

This American bistro opened in the lobby of the Park View Hotel in 2008. The 90-seat dining room features turquoise and magenta hues. A cocktail lounge with fireplaces seats 50. Across the hotel lobby, Perennial’s private event space, the Strand, holds 35. Perennial can hold 235, including in the Strand and on a patio that seats 60. (1800 North Lincoln Ave., 312.981.7070) PETTERINO’S

Named after Pump Room maître d’ Arturo Petterino, this restaurant serves up classic Chicago cuisine. It seats 200 or holds 350 for receptions. Guests enter the party rooms through a private entrance and descend a winding staircase. (150 North Dearborn St., 312.422.0150) PHIL STEFANI’S 437 RUSH

Executive chef Federico Comacchio helms the kitchen at this Italian steak house. The third-floor V.I.P. rooms hold 25 each, while the café and newsroom, which feature 1940s Art Deco decor, hold 200. (437 North Rush St., 312.222.0101) PICCOLO SOGNO5

This River West Italian restaurant features terrazzo floors, Venetian plaster walls, Murano glass chandeliers, and Italian marble. The 77-seat main room has an antipasti table and a wood-burning oven; a private wine room seats 32. A patio seats 120. (464 North Halsted St., 312.421.0077) NEW PIZZERIA SERIO

With the tagline “serious brick-oven pizza,” Pizzeria Serio came to Lakeview in April 2010. Exposed brick walls, lofty ceilings, and metal ductwork lend a laidback vibe to the space, which seats 125. Upstairs, a private room can host 50. (1708 West Belmont Ave., 773.525.0600) POAG MAHONE’S

This financial district pub seats 200 or holds 275 for receptions, but smaller spaces abound: The Wall of Fame room seats 32 or holds 45; the Expo Room, with high-top tables, seats 25 or holds 35; and the Saloon Room seats 80 or holds 100. (333 South Wells St., 312.566.9100) NEW PRAIRIE FIRE

From the owners of Northbrook’s Prairie Grass Cafe,Prairie Fire opened in February 2010 in the former Powerhouse space in the West Loop. The venue seats 150; a private space holds 70. (215 North Clinton St., 312.382.8300) PROSECCO5

Executive chef and owner Mark Sparacino puts a spin on classic Italian dishes. The venue seats 120 or holds 200 for receptions. A small dining room fits eight, while the Piazza Dining Room seats 45 and has a skylight. (710 North Wells St., 312.951.9500) PROVINCE

Chef Randy Zweiban opened the Province in October. The

76 summer 2010

restaurant’s interior features hot-pink walls, petrified manzanita branches, and a glass-enclosed wine wall. A private room holds 49 for cocktails; the full restaurant holds 110. (161 North Jefferson St., 312.669.9900) PUMP ROOM

A Chicago classic since 1938, the Pump Room in the Ambassador East hotel serves a contemporary American menu. The restaurant may be rented for as many as 175. (1301 North State Pkwy., 312.266.0360) THE PUBLICAN

The team of owners behind Blackbird and Avec opened the Publican in October 2009. The main dining room seats 113, while a bar offers seating for an additional 12. (837 West Fulton Market, 312.733.9555) QUARTINO

Steve Lombardo and Hugo Ralli, who have been operating Gibsons Restaurant Group for 20 years, own this urban Italian restaurant. Five private party rooms on the second floor seat 125 or hold as many as 300 for receptions. (626 North State St., 312.698.5000) RAM RESTAURANT & BREWERY

This restaurant chain has three locations in Illinois. The Schaumburg location has two banquet rooms that accommodate 30 to 70 people; the Wheeling space can hold as many as 200. A location in Rosemont can also accommodate private events. (Schaumburg: 1901 McConnor Pkwy., Schaumburg, 847.517.8791; Wheeling: 700 North Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, 847.520.1222; Rosemont: 9520 Higgins Road, Rosemont, 847.692.4426)


This music-themed contemporary American restaurant is from Rockit Ranch Productions. The 12,000-square-foot bilevel space holds 510. The top level holds 300, and the second floor has several semiprivate areas, which can hold 20 to 100. (22 West Hubbard St., 312.645.6000) ROY’S CHICAGO

This Roy Yamaguchi eatery holds 200. The Japanesefusion restaurant also has four private dining areas: The semiprivate wine room seats approximately 30; the Hula Room seats 44; the Paradise Room holds 30; and the Aloha Room seats 70. (720 North State St., 312.787.7599) RUMBA

This vibrant supper club serves up Latin-fusion cuisine. The venue can be rented out for 300. The elevated stage holds 50, the main salon holds 150 for receptions or 100 for seated events, and the private room seats 50 or holds 75 for receptions. (351 West Hubbard St., 312.222.1228) RUSSIAN TEA TIME

This Russian-themed restaurant can accommodate 110 for receptions. There is also one private room that holds 45. The menu serves up Russian fare and dishes from the former Soviet Republic. (77 East Adams St., 312.360.0000) NEW RUSTICO GRILL5

This Mexican restaurant, chef Raul Arreola’s newest venture, opened in September 2009. Rustico seats 70 and provides patio seating for 20. The menu offers specialty margaritas and options such as shrimp in poblano cream sauce. (2515 North California Ave., 773.235.0002)



This gastro-pub opened in July 2009. The venue’s 6,000-square-foot interior is decked in 1920’s-style decor, with a chandelier, damask booths, and black-and-white photos of silent film stars. Drinks follow thematic suit, with old-fashioned Sidecars and Manhattans headlining the cocktail list. (695 North Milwaukee Ave., 312.846.1473)

Sable Kitchen and Bar opened in River North in March 2010. With a 34-seat lounge, a 48-seat main dining room, and a 24-seat secondary dining room, the venue is available for full or partial buyout. A patio seats 36. (505 North State St., 312.755.9704)


Opened in October 2010, Sabor Saveur seats 70. A back room with lofted ceilings, an exposed kitchen, and two communal tables can seat 40 or host receptions for 50. Chef Yanitzin Sanchez specializes in French-Mexicanfusion cuisine. (2013 West Division St., 773.235.7310)

KDK Hospitality owns this opulently designed pan-Asian eatery. Red Light’s interior can be best described as Art Nouveau with Spanish Barcelona and some subtle Asian elements. The private dining room holds 40, the tearoom seats 60 or holds 80 for receptions, and the Opal Room holds 16. (820 West Randolph St., 312.733.8880) RHAPSODY5

Doran Payne creates globally influenced cuisine at this restaurant. Private events take place in Rhapsody’s glasswalled Conductor’s Room. It seats 40 or holds 50 for receptions. In warmer months, the patio seats 50. Rhapsody is available for buyouts. (65 East Adams St., 312.786.9911) RIOS D’SUDAMERICA

After spending 25 years in his family’s Peruvian restaurant, Dino Perez branched out on his own and opened Rios d’Sudamerica in 2006. The white-tablecloth venue seats 200 and fuses Peruvian, Argentine, and Brazilian cuisines. (2010 West Armitage Ave., 773.276.0170) RISTORANTE AL TEATRO

This sprawling Italian eatery opened in Pilsen in May 2009. On the first floor, a semiprivate dining room can host 80 for seated dinners and cocktail receptions for 100. Downstairs, a wine room can seat 45; an adjacent bar area seats 50. (1227 West 18th St., 312.784.9100) NEW RITA’S AMERICAN ROADHOUSE

Dueling piano players, DJ, and a mechanical bull add to the ambiance at this American restaurant. The suburban venue can host private events for as many as 700 guests, and also offers full-service catering. (1211-A Butterfield Road, Downers Grove, 630.515.1177) RIVA5

This Phil Stefani Signature restaurant has three private dining rooms: the 540-square-foot Lighthouse, which seats 40; the 530-square-foot Chicago, which seats 48; and the 760-square-foot Lakefront Room, which holds 80. (700 East Grand Ave., 312.644.7482) RIVERVIEW TAVERN5

Named after a long-shuttered amusement park,Riverview Tavern offers a selection of craft beers and bar eats like burgers and salads. Colorful retro posters of theme parks line the walls. A private room holds 60; the whole space holds 200. (1958 West Roscoe St., 773.248.9523) RL RESTAURANT

Adjacent to the Polo store on Michigan Avenue, RL marks Ralph Lauren’s debut into the restaurant industry. The posh space has a black marble fireplace, mahogany paneling, and brass and ebony cocktail tables. (115 East Chicago Ave., 312.475.1100) ROCCO’S CAFÉ AND PIZZERIA5

Open since May 2009, Rocco’s Cafe and Pizzeria offers Italian staples and provides seating for 200. There’s also an umbrella-dotted patio that seats 150 and the private Speakeasy party room can accommodate receptions for 70. (1925 North Lincoln Ave., 312.642.4700) ROCK BOTTOM RESTAURANT & BREWERY5

This nationwide chain has four locations in the area. Its downtown locale has a rooftop deck that holds 150. The Grand & State Room holds 300, the Grand Room holds 125, and the State Room holds 60. (1 West Grand Ave., 312.755.9339; Other locations: 94 Yorktown Center, Lombard, Ill., 630.424.1550; 16156 South La Grange Road, Orland Park, Ill., 708.226.0021; 28256 Diehl Road, Warrenville, Ill., 630.836.1380)



The Sarah and Peer Pedersen Room, which opened in the Civic Opera House in September 2009, seats 72 and hosts 100 for receptions. Jewell Events Catering provides the food. (20 North Wacker Drive, 312.827.5700) SCOOZI

This Italian restaurant, owned by Lettuce Entertain You, can hold groups of 20 to 400. The flatbread pizzas and homemade pastas are popular options. Groups of 80 may gather in a private area that’s separated from the main dining room by glass. (410 West Huron St., 312.943.5900) SEASONS

Views of Lake Michigan and an atmosphere punctuated by plush armchairs, soft carpeting, and opulent window treatments define this fine-dining destination. Two private dining rooms, Bellevue and Astor, hold 12 and 16, respectively. (120 East Delaware Place, 312.280.8800) SEDGWICK’S BAR & GRILL

Sedgwick’s offers cheap buckets of beer, pub grub, a 106-inch projection TV, and an enthusiasm for sports. Drink and food packages are available, and a private party room holds 100. (1935 North Sedgwick St., 312.337.7900) SEPIA

This Fulton River district restaurant is adorned with antique mirrors and strung with modern chandeliers. Semiprivate areas for six and 10 are available. (123 North Jefferson St., 312.441.1920) 17 WEST AT THE BERGHOFF

The Berghoff closed in 2006 after 107 years in business. Later that year, the owner’s daughter Carolyn Berghoff opened 17 West at the Berghoff in the restaurant’s original location. 17 West has four private rooms that hold 16 to 200 guests. (17 West Adams St., 312.427.3170) SHANGHAI TERRACE5

Reminiscent of a 1930s supper club with an Asian flair, Shanghai Terrace is in the Peninsula hotel. The entire restaurant may be rented; it seats 100 or holds 150 for receptions. A semiprivate room seats 30. (108 East Superior St., 312.573.6744) SHAW’S CRAB HOUSE

Modeled after a 1940s New England seafood restaurant, Shaw’s interior is rich with red and dark wood accents. The entire venue holds 500, or planners can choose from three private rooms: One holds 12, a second holds 30, and a third holds 80. (21 East Hubbard St., 312.527.2722) SHIKAGO

Brothers Alan and Kevin Shikami’s second restaurant is pronounced “shee-cag-o.” The Asian eatery’s 5,500-squarefoot private dining section holds 300. A group of 10 may also rent a semiprivate section of the room. (190 South La Salle St., 312.781.7300) SHINE

After shuttering its Armitage Avenue location, Shine Morida reopened in March 2009 at a different address and with a shortened name: Shine. Two private dining spaces can seat 20 or 30 guests; the entire restaurant holds 80. (756 West Webster Ave., 773.296.0101) SIGNATURE ROOM

The Hancock Building’s restaurant and lounge occupies

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space

the 95th and 96th floors. The entire 8,000-square-foot space holds 700 for receptions. Six smaller rooms seat 30 to 250, or hold 30 to 450 for receptions. (875 North Michigan Ave., 312.787.9596)

Modern Wing, Terzo Piano serves Mediterranean-Italian fare created by chef Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia. The restaurant’s patio provides seating for 60; inside, the space can seat 300. (159 East Monroe St., 312.443.8650)



Silver Cloud slings comfort food like tuna melts, chicken potpie, and meat loaf. The 2,900-square-foot space seats 80 people or holds 150 for receptions; the tree-shaded patio can accommodate 60. (1700 North Damen Ave., 773.489.6212)

This chain brought its Brazilian churrascaria steak house concept to the Magnificent Mile in 2008. With 24,000 square feet, the restaurant can hold 500 people. Seven private rooms hold 10 to 175. (51 East Ohio St., 312.670.1006)


This brick-walled restaurant has a bar area that holds 70; it has large windows that open onto Halsted Street. There’s also a patio with 15 tables. Tilli’s offers contemporary American fare with Asian influences. (1952 North Halsted St., 773.325.0044)

World-class chef Frank Brunacci serves up modern American cuisine at this restaurant on the 16th floor of Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago. The grand ballroom holds 295, while the Skyline Room holds 175 for receptions. (401 North Wabash Ave., 312.588.8030) SOLA

Chef-owner Carol Wallack’s casual neighborhood bistro in North Center serves contemporary American fare with Polynesian twists. The private party room holds 40, or the entire restaurant, which holds 120, can be rented. (3868 North Lincoln Ave., 773.327.3868) NEW THE SOUTHERN5

The Southern took over the former Chaise Lounge space in Wicker Park in February 2010. The bilevel eatery can host private functions for 125 on its enclosed rooftop deck. Available for full buyout, the venue can hold 250. (1840 West North Ave., 773.342.1840) SOUTH WATER KITCHEN

This contemporary restaurant inside Hotel Monaco provides more than 4,100 square feet of meeting space. The River Room seats 35, while the Paris Room, Athens Room, and Tokyo Boardroom each seat 180 or hold 250 for receptions. (225 North Wabash Ave., 312.236.9300) SPIAGGIA

Chef/partner Tony Mantuano serves Italian cuisine. Spiaggia offers several dining rooms, which may be combined to seat 220 or hold 350 for receptions. Special additions to events include custom menus, specialty linens, exotic flowers, and a baby grand piano. (980 North Michigan Ave., 312.280.3300) SPRING

Award-winning chef-owner Shawn McClain’s flagship restaurant is in a historic 1920s bathhouse. Spring offers a New American menu with a strong seafood focus by combining French and Asian accents. A semiprivate room holds 35. (2039 West North Ave., 773.395.7100) NEW SPROUT

Chef Dale Levitski oversees the menu of this 40-seat Lincoln Park eatery, which is decked with red banquettes, marble floors, and oversize photos of colorful fruit. (1417 West Fullerton Ave., 773.348.0706) STANLEY’S KITCHEN & TAP5

Designed to resemble a down-home restaurant, this entire boisterous corner venue can be rented, or the basement/private party room can hold 100. Stanley’s on Racine, which opened in 2007, has outdoor seating for 200. (1970 North Lincoln Ave., 312.642.0007; Stanley’s on Racine: 324 South Racine Ave., 312.433.0007) SUNDA

Rockit Ranch Productions opened Sunda in River North in March 2009. The New Asian restaurant can seat 126 or hold 300 for receptions. For smaller groups, two communal tables offer seating for 14 to 32. The lounge can host receptions for 40; and the private Veranda room seats 24. (110 West Illinois St., 312.644.0500) SUSHI SAMBA RIO5



This restaurant has two private rooms available for events. The Guinness Room holds 36 and the Selooto Room holds 101. The entire venue can also be rented for groups of as many as 401.(622 North Fairbanks Court, 312.642.0700) TIZI MELLOUL

Specializing in offbeat Mediterranean cuisine, this festive eatery has three rooms for events. The Crescent Room and the bar/lounge each hold 25. The entire restaurant, which seats 150 or holds 175 for receptions, can also be rented. (531 North Wells St., 312.670.4338)


The DaVinci Group owns this Italian eatery in Lincoln Park. Three party rooms offer rustic Italian spaces that hold 12 to 50. The Buca room holds 15; the Portico holds 35; and the more formal room, Enoteca, holds 50. (1732 North Halsted St., 312.266.1199) VIVO

This rustic Italian eatery offers two private areas. The popular elevator shaft offers private dining for eight. For larger events, the second floor, with its classic wood accents, holds 200. (838 West Randolph St., 312.733.3379) VOLO RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR5

With curtained-off cedar cabanas that seat 16, fountains, gardens, a 100-year-old barn, and a tucked-away location, Volo’s back patio offers a quiet space to sip on a flight from the extensive wine list. The backyard holds 65, while the sidewalk café seats 16. Volo’s narrow 1,000-square-foot interior seats 52. (2008 West Roscoe St., 773.348.4600) WEATHER MARK TAVERN5

A large painting of a sailboat hangs behind the bar at this sailing-themed venue. Sails section off four lounging areas that each seat 10 on couches, leather ottomans, and chairs. A front section with highboys and TVs holds 50, while the whole space seats 80 or holds 125 for receptions. A patio seats 60. (1503 South Michigan Ave., 312.588.0230) WEBER GRILL RESTAURANT

This River North restaurant from celebrity chef Rick Bayless was the first ethnic restaurant to be awarded four stars by Chicago magazine. The main dining room features art by famed Mexican artists, and the Morales Room offers private dining for 40. (445 North Clark St., 312.661.1434)

The Weber Grill has four spaces available for events. The Grill Room holds 100, the Summit Room holds 30, and the Ranch Room holds 150. During the warmer months, a covered patio seats 100 or holds 150 for receptions. There are additional locations in Lombard, Schaumburg, and Indianapolis. (539 North State St., 312.467.9696)



This 5,000-square-foot downtown restaurant opened in 2006. Townhouse’s main dining room seats 120 and is dominated by floor-to-ceiling windows that run the length of the venue; a patio seats an additional 70. (111 South Wacker Drive, 312.948.8240)

Susan and Drew Goss’s menu offers contemporary comfort food, and the venue features a tin ceiling and exposed brick walls. The dining room seats 65. The entire restaurant is available for rent on Sundays. During the week, it can hold groups of 20. (1329 West Chicago Ave., 312.666.6175)



This upscale tiki-themed restaurant chain opened a Gold Coast outpost in December 2009. The venue can cater to groups of eight to 200. Menu selections include macadamia nut mahimahi and wasabi-crusted filet mignon, and the specialty cocktail list features 76 fruity concoctions. (1030 North State St., 312.642.6500)

This 1940s-inspired supper club by Lettuce Entertain You is closed to the public for lunch but hosts daytime events and holds as many as 125. Planners may also reserve the smaller private rooms, including the Avalon, Buckingham, Stardust, and Geyser-Peak, which hold groups of 30 to 50. (159 West Erie St., 312.787.9000)




Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand opened this sleek spot in the Westin Chicago North Shore in 2006. A candle room holds 60, and a room inside the 10,000-bottle wine wall seats six. (601 North Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, Ill., 847.777.6575)

This restaurant and lounge has low lighting, rich wood, a DJ many evenings, and an extensive beer list. Xippo holds 95 for receptions. A patio that runs the length of the building seats 40. (3759 North Damen Ave., 773.529.9135)



This Italian restaurant’s menu features homemade ravioli and four-grain risotto. Private dining is available in two rooms decorated with a Tuscan theme and featuring warm lighting, earth tones, and murals; each seats 30. (10 North Dearborn St., 312.984.1718)

This Mexican restaurant serves updated traditional Latin dishes in a festive setting. There is no private dining room, but the staff will set aside enough space for 25 to 70, or the entire restaurant may be rented out for groups of 250. (1307 South Wabash Ave., 312.435.1307)



The progressive French cuisine at this restaurant owned by Rich Melman, Rick Tramonto, and Gale Gand has earned it numerous accolades. The venue can seat 100 or hold 250 for receptions when rented in its entirety. The second-floor private room holds 40. (676 North St. Clair St., 312.202.0001)

Chef Michael Taus is known for going all out, especially for guests who reserve the 10-seat chef’s table. His restaurant also hosts larger events; it holds 250. The private dining room features cozy, plush chairs and views of the glassenclosed wine cellar. (419 West Superior St., 312.475.9112)



Siblings Agnes Chua Yoshikawa and Eugene Chua own this sushi-focused restaurant. The restaurant has a clubby feel, with an upstairs party room that seats 65 or holds 100 for receptions. A patio may be used for events. (1443 West Fullerton Ave., 773.883.8722)

Chef Bobby Varua—who’s worked with Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Charlie Palmer, and David Burke—helped usher in this novel concept where the chefs act as servers. A first-floor wine room seats 10; the second floor holds 350; and the rooftop lounge seats 100. (739 North Clark St., 312.266.6691)

Shimon Bokovza brings his successful Brazilian/ Japanese/Peruvian concept to River North with this 12,000-square-foot space. Sushi Samba’s many rooms include the main dining room, which seats 250; the rooftop lounge, which holds 150; the 60-person main bar and lounge; the red room, which holds 80; and the mezzanine for 25. (504 North Wells St., 312.595.2300)

Noted chef Steven Chiappetti creates whimsical American contemporary fare at this restaurant inside the Marriott Courtyard. Its 5,000 square feet may be rented for parties of as many as 200, or one of two private rooms may be used. A small patio seats 25. (155 East Ontario St., 312.255.8505)





From the owners of Rise and Shine, Sushi Taiyo opened in the former Farmerie 58 address in November 2009. With seating in red booths and walls made out of reclaimed barn wood, the restaurant offers sake, steak and specialty rolls. (58 East Ontario St., 312.440.1717)

This modern, Asian-focused eatery can be rented for receptions of as many as 80, or there is a lounge separate from the dining room that may be booked for smaller events. The space is outfitted with Asian fixtures, butterfly art, and lounge furniture. (1346 West Devon Ave., 773.465.5720)

This restaurant on the fourth floor of Neiman Marcus serves contemporary American food. The main dining room can be rented for groups of 150, and the smaller Light Touch room is available for private events for 20. (737 North Michigan Ave., 312.642.5900)


Cousins Marcos and Edgar Castaneda opened this regional Mexican restaurant. With the 5,000-square-foot Zocalo, they’ve created a warm, inviting dining room that seats 225. A private room seats 35. (358 West Ontario St., 312.302.9977)


When chef Art Smith’s Table 52 opened, it was known as an impossible-to-get-a-reservation spot. Luckily, the cozy 35-seat restaurant is available for partial or full buyouts. Smith worked as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for 10 years. (52 West Elm St., 312.573.4000) TAPAS LAS RAMBLAS

This tapas spot opened in Andersonville in 2008. Hanging lanterns, colorful murals, and mosaics adorn the 2,500-square-foot storefront space. A private dining room seats 64 or holds 100 for receptions. (5101 North Clark St., 773.769.9700) TAVERN AT THE PARK5

Tavern at the Park has four private dining spaces that seat 10 to 100. The bilevel venue features soundabsorbing pressed-tin ceilings, 20-foot windows, and an upscale American menu. (130 East Randolph St., 312.552.0070) TERZO PIANO5

On the third level of the Art Institute of Chicago’s new

Retail Venues ELEMENTS

Although this shop sells jewelry, handbags, fine china, cashmere scarves, organic stoneware, and more, owners Jeannine Dal Pra and Toby Glickman also open the 3,700-square-foot space for events. Elements holds 200. (741 North Wells St., 877.642.6574) GUISE/CHIC

This space serves as a complete style store (think retail and salon) for men and women. The 4,000-square-foot open room has exposed brick walls and wood floors. The decor is split between the sexes—the men’s side

is decorated in stainless steel and cool colors, while the women’s side is black and white with hanging chandeliers. (2128 North Halsted St., 773.929.6101) MACY’S ON STATE STREET

This national historic landmark opened in 1852. The Narcissus Room holds 600 or can be divided into two rooms. The culinary studio can host cooking demonstrations and holds 100. The marble-floored Seven on State food court and the circa-1907 Walnut Room restaurant each hold 1,000. Six boardrooms and conference rooms hold 8 to 45. (111 North State St., 312.781.1000) summer 2010 77

Chicago Venue Directory


Allyu Spa specializes in natural healing services like acupuncture and massage. The 6,000-square-foot Asianinspired space has 10 treatment rooms, a meditation room, an infrared sauna, and a 600-square-foot workshop that seats 30 for classes such as Chakra Exploration. (600 West Chicago Ave., 312.755.1313) AMERICAN MALE

This spa for men offers treatments like “hand detailing” (a manicure) and “camouflage” (a get-rid-of-the-gray-hair service) amid walls lined with Super Bowl paraphernalia, leather chairs, and flat-screen TVs tuned to sports. The venue can host groups of nine. (401 West Ontario St., Suite 175, 312.482.8170) ANIKO SALON & SPA

This Moroccan-themed venue includes a spa and a salon that are 4,000 square feet each. The spa offers manicures for four in the lobby and has a room with four pedicure stations, four massage rooms, and three facial rooms. (1109 South Wabash Ave., 312.431.1573) BLISS CHICAGO

This 9,600-square-foot spa in the W Chicago Lakeshore has 16 treatment rooms and four “movie while you manicure” stations. Services include massages, body treatments, and nail care. A complimentary brownie buffet is available. (644 North Lake Shore Drive, 312.255.4496) BLO.DRI

Blo.Dri, a finishing salon that specializes in updos and blowouts for women, opened in River North in September 2008. Its other services include makeup application, curling, and the signature “champagne blo.out,” which lets guests sip bubbly while stylists tend to their hair. Dubbed “Blo.bashes,” private salon events can hold 40 guests. (408 North Clark St., 312.595.3000)

haircuts and one shave and waxing service at a time. For events that don’t involve services, the salon can hold 100. The spa also has locations in Gold Coast, Bucktown, Ogilvie, and the Loop. (654 West Diversey Pkwy., 773.248.4256) JOHN ALLAN’S

Open since December 2008, this South Loop salon occupies a 5,000-square-foot penthouse that can host 350. The cutting room opens onto a 1,350-square-foot terrace; a separate lounge area has a bar, a pool table, and a flatscreen TV. (111 West Jackson Blvd., 312.663.4600) JOHNATHAN BREITUNG SALON AND LUXURY SPA

This Lakeview salon offers an upstairs area devoted to hair styling and a lower level for massages, manicures, and Botox injections. The 9,000-square-foot venue can hold 100 guests. Both floors have hospitality bars; there’s also a full kitchen. (3226 North Lincoln Ave., 773.348.1800) KAYA DAY SPA

This 10,000-square-foot spa is in a loft-style building and has exposed brick walls and timber ceilings. Fifty people can be serviced at once, and Gourmet 47 Market & Café on the first floor can cater. (112 North May St., 312.243.5292) KIVA DAY SPA

This 3,750-square-foot spa can service as many as 30 guests at a time. Four pedicure chairs, four manicure tables, eight hairstyling stations, and a makeup artist’s table are on the ground floor. The second floor has dim lighting for spa services in its 11 treatment rooms. (196 East Pearson St., 312.840.8120) LINCOLN PARK MASSAGE SPA

Each of the five massage rooms in this 1,800-square-foot spa has a mural evocative of Morning Forest, Cherry Blossom, Desert Haze, Island Breeze, or Pacific Paradise. Ten clients can be treated at once. (630 West Webster Ave., 773.296.6300) MEN’S GROOMING PARLOR

This all-men’s salon opened in a converted two-bedroom apartment above Andersonville’s Anteprima restaurant in February 2009. The 1,400-square-foot venue can host receptions for about 20; a patio provides space for 15. (5316 North Clark St., 773.316.9357)



One of four Illinois locations, this 10,000-square-foot spa can accommodate 125 for massages, facials, waxing, nail services, and more. The spa is in the historic Palmolive Building, and treatments are available for off-site events. (919 North Michigan Ave., 312.988.9191)

This 11,000-square-foot spa in the Fairmont Chicago opened in February 2008. MySpa has eight treatment rooms (one is a two-person suite) and a fitness center. MySpa can treat 12 guests at a time for facials, massages, body wraps and scrubs, and nail care. (200 North Columbus Drive, 312.946.8945)


Services at this 4,000-square-foot spa and salon, which can treat 10 guests at a time, include haircuts, nail care, facials, massages, and body treatments. The interior features soft colors and maple floors. (8 South Michigan Ave., Suite 200, 312.629.0376) EXHALE SPA

Exhale can accommodate 20 in its 9,400-square-foot space for massages, facials, and acupuncture. Private rooms are available for corporate teambuilding events, and a temple-like studio hosts yoga and Pilates classes. (945 North State St., 312.753.6500) FUGA SALON AND SPA5

Its name means “escape” in Italian, and this spa has a Italian style, beginning with a complimentary cappuccino as guests arrive. The spa’s terrazzo has four service rooms and an outdoor lounge with couches and a canopied daybed. (3853 North Southport Ave., 773.880.1280) HALO (FOR MEN)

The Lincoln Park location of this spa for men opened in February 2009. For events, Halo staff can provide nine


This 16,000-square-foot spa in the Peninsula Chicago hotel has eight treatment rooms, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and an outdoor sundeck. The spa can service 11 guests at a time; classes hold six to eight. (108 East Superior St., 312.573.6860) RENEW SPA

This spa opened in May 2009 in the Gold Coast, in the same building as Italian restaurant Spiaggia. The spa is available for full buyout and can host receptions, catered by its neighbor, for as many as 30 guests. The spa can provide services for 15 guests at a time. (980 North Michigan Ave., 312.234.0241) RUBY ROOM SPA FOR THE SPIRIT5

With 13,000 square feet of space, Ruby Room is not just a spa—it also includes a yoga lounge, three boutiques, eight overnight guest rooms, a healing garden, and a patio. The technology-free guest rooms offer steam showers and double-stuffed beds. (1743-45 West Division St., 773.235.2323)

Stadiums & Arenas ALLSTATE ARENA

This 18,500-seat arena, home to the American Hockey League’s Wolves, has a 12,500-square-foot open space and flexible staging and floor configurations. There are six meeting rooms, four holding 50 each and two holding 250 each. (6920 North Mannheim Road, Rosemont, 847.635.6601) ARLINGTON PARK RACE COURSE5

Arlington Park opened in 1927 and now has more than 50,000 seats. The 175-seat governor’s room has a balcony over the track; the specialty suites hold 100; and the international room holds 340. Outdoor private tents can hold as many as 500, and the semiprivate Park Pavilion holds 180. (2200 West Euclid, Arlington Heights, 847.385.7500) CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY5

Home to Nascar events, this one-and-a-half-mile track sits on 930 acres southwest of Chicago. The grandstand has 75,000 seats and 30 private suites. Guests can rent a hospitality chalet—a tent and an enclosed patio—with space for 100. (500 Speedway Blvd., Joliet, 815.722.5500) HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE5

On 30 acres just outside of Chicago, this one-mile horse track was founded in 1891 and now has 80,000 seats. The infield and three parking lots can be rented for private

78 summer 2010

events. Four suites and dining rooms are also available; the largest room holds 650. (3501 South Laramie Ave., Cicero, 708.780.7050) MAYWOOD PARK5

This horse track has several event areas, including three parking lots. The nine-acre infield holds 15,000. Indoor spaces include the 100-seat Windy City Room; the formal 1,000-seat Winner’s Circle dining room; and a 200-seat meeting room. (8600 West North Ave., Melrose Park, 708.343.4800 ext. 150) SOLDIER FIELD5

Home to the Bears, Soldier Field opened in 1924. The 47,000-square-foot indoor Cadillac Club offers views of Lake Michigan and the stadium. The lower level holds 5,000. Glass-enclosed sky suites each hold 100. A 400,000-square-foot parking lot can be rented. (1410 South Museum Campus Drive, 312.235.7000) TOYOTA PARK5

This 469,000-square-foot stadium, home to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, has more than 20,000 seats, and the field holds 8,000 people. Six party suites, 42 executive suites that each hold 36, and a roof deck are available for rent. Levy Restaurants caters. (7000 South Harlem Ave., Bridgeview, 708.594.7200)


A nail area, retail space, and spa with five treatment rooms make up this 2,500-square-foot facility that holds 75. Services include facials, body treatments, makeup applications, and nail treatments. (3015 North Ashland Ave., 773.975.7546) SPA AT THE FOUR SEASONS HOTEL CHICAGO

This 8,000-square-foot spa has a nail suite, three massage rooms, and a facial room. Nine can be treated at a time, and in-room massages and spa services are available for hotel guests. (120 East Delaware Place, 312.649.2340) SPA BY ASHA

Spa by Asha opened in the James hotel in 2007. The 1,000-square-foot space has three treatment rooms and can host events during which as many as 70 guests can mingle in the lounge between treatments like foot reflexology, massages, and body wraps and scrubs. (55 East Ontario St., 312.664.0200) SPA CHAKRA

Part of the Palmer House Hilton’s multimillion-dollar renovation, Spa Chakra opened in September 2008 and features 12 treatment rooms. Available for full buyouts, the 8,000-square-foot spa can host 30 guests. (17 East Monroe St., 312.422.1336) SPACIO

Mud wraps, Botox, and airbrush tanning are just a few of the services available at this spa, which can service 20 at a time. There are 11 treatment rooms, a retail boutique, two large locker rooms, and one “wet room” for hydrotherapy treatments. (2706 North Halsted St., 773.244.6500) SPA FOREVER

Open since in 2007, this spa offers skin care, waxing, massages, and facials. The lobby holds six, and catering can be brought in. Among the six dimly lit private rooms, one has two massage tables for couples. (1917 North Damen Ave., 773.394.0000) NEW SPA LA LA

Spa La La, a 4,000-square-foot space in Bucktown, opened in July 2009. The spa has five treatment rooms and a reception area for 100. Owner Lizzie Harris’s boyfriend, Ben Walanka—a former Rhapsody chef and a Hell’s Kitchen alum—is the spa’s in-house chef. (2300 West Armitage Ave., 773.772.5252) SPA SPACE

West Loop’s Spa Space can host groups of 40 in its 7,500-square-foot facility for services such as massages, facials, waxing, and tanning. There are 14 treatment rooms, a manicure and pedicure lounge for 10, a retail boutique, and a private party room that seats 12. (161 North Canal St., 312.466.9585) TIFFANI KIM INSTITUTE

This 28,000-square-foot venue hosts seminars for groups of 400 on issues such as skin cancer prevention, followed by nutrition consultations, skin analyses, and mini treatments. (310 West Superior St., 312.260.9000) VERA VOLLI SPA

This 1,800-square-foot spa has six treatment rooms and offers tanning services, hair and nail care, and massage therapy. A Jacuzzi and sauna are available, and as many as 20 can be pampered at a time. (2300 North Lincoln Park West, 773.477.1144) ZEZA HAIR AND DAY SPA

This 3,000-square-foot salon and spa can service 12 at a time. There are eight hairstyling chairs, four manicure tables, two pedicure stations, a facial room, a massage room, and a private pedicure room. (211 East Ontario St., Suite 1 West, 312.932.9262)


The University of Illinois at Chicago’s basketball team and the W.N.B.A.’s Chicago Sky call this arena home. The venue holds nearly 9,000 people for concerts, 6,396 for basketball games, or more than 700 for banquets on the stadium floor. The stadium can be rearranged as needed. (525 South Racine St., 312.413.5740) UNITED CENTER

Home to the Bulls and the Blackhawks, this indoor arena is popular for concerts and special events. Available for rental are 20-person penthouse suites and 40- or 80-person super suites with maple bars, leather furniture, and plasma TVs. The arena houses several restaurants and bars. (1901 West Madison St., 312.455.4500) U.S. CELLULAR FIELD5

Home field of the White Sox, this stadium seats 40,000. Spaces include the 60-person Diamond Suites, the 400-person upper terrace suite, and the Miller Lite Extra Base, which holds 400. The center-field fan deck holds 150, and a conference center has four rooms that hold 12 to 135. (333 West 35th St., 312.674.1000) WRIGLEY FIELD5

Home to the Cubs since 1916, this stadium has more than 40,000 seats. Private event spaces include the 15-person mezzanine suites, the 30-person Double Play suites, and the 40-person super suites. A new private event space opened under the right-field bleachers in 2010. Other changes include a new super suite in the left-field corner. A combination of six suites, the club holds 71 guests. (1060 West Addison St., 773.404.2827)

5= Venues that offer outdoor event space


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Hot Stuff Tips for beating the heat at summer events. Last night was the first real scorcher of the summer season in New York, 94 degrees, so of course I had plans to put on a wool tuxedo. I almost didn’t leave the apartment, but the knowledge that the gala was being held at one of the biggest, most famous (and expensive) restaurants in the world, one with a gurgling pool no less, promised me an evening in an ice box. No such luck. I’m always complaining about being hot—one friend told me I’m like a canary in a coal mine when it comes to detecting heat. So I try and keep my mouth shut. That is until I see skinny-as-a-rail ladies in strapless dresses waving the evening programs as makeshift fans. Then I put my fear of male menopause aside and spring into action. Which in this case involved asking the legendary owner to turn up the air. His response: “But we can’t make it too cold, the ladies don’t like it.” Ugh. But I let it go. The truth is, I knew perfectly well there was nothing he could really do. It was too late. It

takes hours to properly cool down a large room. Conversely, once you fill a cold dinner hall with bodies, candles and movement, it takes only a few minutes to warm a space up. I’m not going to pretend to know the science; I just tell you ’cause I know. Invariably, event planners mean well but are done in by the deliveries. Caterers with proofing ovens, florists, lighting and sound guys with their mysterious giant black boxes, all constantly going in and out through the biggest door they can find, which they prop open with a sandbag. You can beg them to close the door until you are blue in the face, but they don’t care. Once the room is all tricked out, they probably all go to some nice air conditioned deli to wait while the $1,000-a-head folks sweat it out in the sauna of a party space they’ve created. But we can fight back. Here’s some of the things I’ve either done or seen that help beat the heat. 1. In Hong Kong, when you get out of the oppressively hot, humid,

and polluted air, they have a person who stands inside the door at the nice hotels and hands you a cool wet towel with some wood tongs. You lift the thing up to your face…heaven. Then you just drop it in a little box and keep moving. 2. Pass cool, low- or no-alcohol drinks. At Southampton Hospital, Robbins Wolfe usually starts with champagne cocktails. It’s always sweltering, but the cold, sugary drink is a real lifter. Ditto Pimm’s Cup with fresh mint at Ascot in London. Where as normally I say that a well-lubricated crowd is a happy one, in the heat, your goal is to pace the lubrication. 3. Those spritzy misting fans in tents are great where they originated, in Las Vegas, where the dry, angry pavement sends heat up in waves. In most climates they just add to the humidity. Seems so obvious. 4. A chilled mug is a thing of joy. Why is it only beer gets this royal treatment? 5. Don’t forget sound and sight perception adds to the mix. If you can’t afford a fountain, which is like an auditory air conditioner, why not some ambient babbling brook noise? On the other hand, just looking at bright lights can add to the temperature. Make sure no bare bulbs are visible and summer candles (outdoor only, right?) are dimmed with colored glass vessels. 6. I believe in tons and tons of

ice. Way more than you need. Fill giant metal or plastic containers—almost anything will do—and get the ice out from behind the bar and into the party. Fill the buckets with exotic beers, champagne splits, and colored sparkling waters and sodas. Helping themselves gets guests touching cold items and cooling off. 7. On a hot, hot night, a pool party can be such a tease. And I think candles floating in a pool is just about the dumbest thing going. They always look so dinky. For my pool, I use my dog, Turbo, for entertainment: He goes in for the ball tirelessly. But my new trick is to buy a few funny battery powered toys at the pool store and throw them in one at a time. Give some kid a little cash and make it their project. Half of them don’t work and are a rip-off, which is part of the fun. 8. The still, warm air of a tent can be deadly, even worse with these stretchy latex numbers. God invented fans for a reason. And you know they work just as well outdoors as in, don’t you? 9. Old-fashioned folks, me included, don’t take off our jackets until the host does the same. Some hosts need to be reminded how this works. 10. Why not something cold and fresh on the way out, like a mini popsicle or a tiny cup of frozen yogurt to make the parking valet experience a little less monotonous?


Ted Kruckel

Where Ted’s Been

Lilly Pulitzer textile designers provided lovely and interesting entertainment at the Museum of Natural History’s Museum Dance. Later their works were auctioned off.

80 summer january/february 2010 2010

The Archeological Institute’s servers wore painted masks. Oooooh.

The flock descending the stairs was quite the scene at the Central Park Conservancy’s 28th annual hat luncheon. Let the preening begin!

Chicago Fall 2010  

• The Venue Report • Our Annual Look at New Locations • How Social Media Experts Do Face-to-Face Events

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