Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chicago Rooftop Roundup

It’s the first day of summer! As our friend Molly recently discovered, Chicago is truly at its best in the months of June, July and August. I think it’s mostly because the summer is so darn fleeting that there’s this huge sense of urgency that the whole city feels to take advantage of every single second of nice weather. Frankly, I end up feeling a little bit exhausted come September, but right now it’s full-on excitement mode.

I know those of you who are not stuck smack-dab in the middle of the country probably scoff at our beaches, but I swear to you, they’re beautiful. But that’s for another post. Also for another post is the amazingness that is Chicago street fairs (chicken on a stick and a cold beer while listening to live bands? Don’t mind if I do!).

But today, I am just so ridiculously excited for rooftop season! (Hence so! Many! Exclamation! Points! Sorry!) Chicago has recently had this huge surge of these incredible roofdecks, particularly downtown… it’s like this whole new way to experience Chicago nightlife and you HAVE to act fast, because those suckers close down in September when it’ll inevitably freak snowstorm at least once.

I thought I’d share some of our faves and some new rooftops that are slated to open soon or have just opened. Enjoy!

Tried and True

Roof at Wit

In a very unscientific survey of the people around me at work, I'd call this the most famous Chicago rooftop. It has a rectractable roof, so this one is actually doable year-round, but never as good as in the summer!


Great views, comfy lounge furniture, deck umbrellas, all of my favorite things. HUGE line every night in the summer, so best to go when you do dinner here first for guaranteed entry.

Casey Morans

A great way to do Wrigley without reallyyyyyyy having to do Wrigley :)


Unique and perfect view of the skyline from the west. I spent my 25th birthday here and it will forever go down as the birthday to remember.


I think this might be the FIRST rooftop I ever went to here in the city! Still standing as a fun, casual place for after-work drinks.


understated d├ęcor but good drinks and music with a fun scene, right in the middle of River North. Another one with historically bad lines (and historically bad 'tudes on the doormen), but worth checking out at least once!

Terrace at Trump

suuuper swanky, you probably need reservations unless it’s a Monday or it’s pouring, and they won’t let you step FOOT on to the roof unless there’s a table available… but a great experience and an incredible view of the river and the city.

Up & Comers

III Forks

just opened in River East at the very end of last summer and we stopped by for one quick rooftop drink and I cannot WAIT to go back this summer... I predict this one will be a big hit, though its SO hard to get to (as is everything East of Michigan Ave.)


I am ridiculously excited for this one. There are speakeasy-style bars popping up all over the place, which I am prettyyyy happy about. I love unique, craft cocktails and I'm totally convinced they'll be even better on a rooftop.


apparently opened this winter and I haven't heard much about it, but I suspect if the rooftop is all that it's cracked up to be, that'll change quickly. Its actually right on the river, so I'm really curious to see if they'll allow boats to tie up that come in off the lake - that would instantly make this place a hit.

Perennial Virant

at the Lincoln Hotel has some seriously amazing food, and their ground-floor patio overlooking the park is pretty fabulous as is... so I'm super excited for The J. Parker to open this summer. Chicago Eater reports they're doing a themed quarterly cocktail program and first up is Mexico - Sangria 3 ways? How will I choose?

If you live in Chicago, which one are you most excited to check out this summer? If you live elsewhere, what's your favorite outdoor bar? I need to build my nation-wide list!

Cheers to the first day of summer!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review - Mrs. Kennedy and Me

I just finished Mrs. Kennedy and Me, a memoir by Jackie Kennedy Onassis' lead secret service agent during the time JFK was in office. I can't recommend this book enough. Even putting aside the obvious allure of the Kennedys, a peek into the way the Secret Service works is pretty fascinating in itself. Clint Hill earned the trust of a woman notoriously private by going out of his way to keep her safe while allowing her the one thing she wanted more than anything - freedom - to the best of his ability.

It was really touching to read about his dedication to her and the friendship that grew between the two during their time together and I loved reading as the dynamic between the two of them grew and changed.

However, the very obvious draw here is the intimate look into Jackie's life and the book does not disappoint. I always knew she had some serious style, but I had no idea just how much she impacted JFK's presidency and in short, how awesome she was. She led a life that most of us can't even imagine, but the book shows this incredibly human side of her - mischievious, adventurous, and funny.

Read it! You'll love it.

Ali, if I show up to your pool this weekend wearing a scarf on my head, you've been warned.

I'd really like to read One Special Summer, a book she authored with her sister about their summer together in Europe. Apparently they don't have this for Kindle which frankly is baffling, but maybe I'll go old-school and get the... hardcover?

All images via Pinterest

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

24 Hours in Denver

On Sunday night, I flew out to Denver for a meeting Monday afternoon with my company. Though it shortened my weekend, Denver's been on my list of cities to visit for a while now and I'm glad I got a chance, albeit a quick one.

I stayed at the Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton brand hotel. Chicago has a Monaco too, but I've never been inside so I didn't really know what I was in for.

It was amazing. I was greeted by a glass of strawberry mint water and two golden retrievers in the lobby. (In case you were wondering, they were not hotel dogs, though I seriously did ask the doorman that. What is wrong with me? "Um, no, miss - we're just dog friendly." Ah, right.) Then I looked around, took in the hand painted ceiling, crazy light fixtures and chairs with cow-hide pillows and decided I never wanted to leave. The two guys behind the front desk were great too, super friendly and full of recommendations for dinner that night.

The ceiling in the lobby. I need these light fixtures in my future!

Even though my room had a rather sad view of the parking garage, I loved it anyway - the design was so crazy but it totally worked. Check out all of the patterns! (I'm looking at you, Jessie!)

On the recommendation of the concierge, we wandered over to check out the Denver Chalk Art Festival at Larimer Square and I am so, so glad I did this. I'm a sucker for anything with twinkly lights, and the beautiful chalk drawings were just icing on the cake.

Though literally every single entry was ridiculously beautiful, these three were my favorites. Can you tell I like faces?

We wandered into a wine bar called Cru for dinner outside on the patio, and it turned out to be another huge win. I couldn't take pictures of our dinner because I was with work company, but please believe me when I say that it was to die for. The lamb lollipops (I hate that name) were ridiculous and the tuna tartare was amazing too. Paired with a great glass of pinot noir, I was pretty happy despite technically "working" on a Sunday night!

I did manage to snap one shot of Cru's interior - wine bottles all the way up the walls and great chandeliers.

The next day, we had lunch at Panzano in our hotel. Again, no pictures, but phenomenal food. I had the Panzanella Salad - which loosely translated means "the least-healthy salad of all time", but so worth it. I want to go back to Denver just to eat everything I had between Sunday and Monday over again!

It was a whirlwind but a great trip. I'd totally go back with friends for a ski trip (and by "ski" I mean... sitting in a ski lodge drinking hot chocolate with Baileys). Chicago may be the most beautiful city in the world, but it is flat as a board and I am totally fascinated by mountains. I'd love to check out some of Denver's outdoor activities. Who's in? :)