New in Town: The Biggest Rooftop Bar in America, Plus More Must-Try Restaurants in Chicago

From a 36,000-square-foot rooftop bar to the latest offering at Ravinia Festival, plus a new yoga studio, coworking space, and more, here are the newest restaurants and businesses calling Chicago home.

Eats

Offshore

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

It’s not just a rooftop bar — it’s the biggest rooftop bar in America. Clocking in at a whopping 36,000 square feet, Offshore features both indoor and outdoor spaces, seven fire pits, an entertainment and gaming area, and unparalleled views of the city. Executive chef Michael Shrader heads up the dining program, which features modern American cuisine in the form of shareable small plates. Don’t miss the extensive drinks menu with a lengthy selection of local craft beers and seasonal cocktails.

The BMO Club

Ravinia, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park

The BMO Club at Ravinia Festival
Photo courtesy of Ravinia Festival.

There’s a new hot spot at Ravinia — and it’s located on the rooftop of the Experience Center on the North Lawn. The BMO Club, which opened at the start of the festival season, is the best new place to see (and be seen) on concert evenings. It accommodates more than 170 guests, with bar and table seating and a drink rail around the perimeter of the space, plus an observation bridge to Ravinia’s Dining Pavilion (which recently underwent significant renovations). There are a variety of refreshments, as well as small-plate options and fresh-baked treats.

Pennyville Station

112 Main St., Park Ridge

Pennyville Station in Park Ridge, Illinois
Photo courtesy of Pennyville Station.

If you’re looking for a new farm-to-table neighborhood spot, head to Pennyville Station. Located right next to the Park Ridge train station (could it be any more convenient?), this restaurant is focused on celebrating the identity of Midwestern food and farming. The menu features local roasted meats, fresh fish, and vegetable-centric dishes, as well as special touches such as house-pickled vegetables and house-cured bacon.

Tortello

1746 W. Division St., Chicago

Tortello is Wicker Park’s latest hot restaurant — a fresh pasta shop and an Italian cafe rolled into one. Headed up by chef Duncan Biddulph (who made a name for himself at the beloved beer hall The Publican), the restaurant features a menu focused on simple, traditional pastas and a carefully curated selection of beer, wine, and Italian cocktails. A variety of espresso drinks and pastries are available for takeaway. A sidewalk patio evokes the bustling piazzas of Italy where friends and family eat and drink together.

Play Kitchen and Cocktails

7 W. Division St., Chicago

Play Kitchen and Cocktails in Chicago
Photo courtesy of Play Kitchen and Cocktails.

This is not your average cocktail bar — this is a grown-up playground, so line up a babysitter. Here you’ll find guest DJs, weekly parties, boozy brunches and shareable (read: dangerous) cocktails, contemporary graffiti installations, 17 ultra-high-def TVs, 24-Karat Gold Wings, and mezcal shots garnished with an edible pickled scorpion. Playtime was never so much fun.

City Hall

838 W. Kinzie St., Chicago

This isn’t the City Hall you’re thinking of — it’s a brand-new restaurant in the West Loop neighborhood. Serving elevated bar food in a relaxed setting (with an enormous outdoor patio), the 23,000-square-foot space also features a stunning event venue. If you want a laugh, check out their website — it pokes plenty of fun at the real City Hall.

Wake ‘n Bacon

420 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

If your regular bar just isn’t cutting it, maybe you’d like to try a CBD-infused cocktail? If you’ve been living under a rock, CBD is derived from the hemp plant and is alleged to have relaxing and restorative properties, with no psychoactive effects (it has no THC, the active ingredient in marijuana). Wake ‘n Bacon is a boozy cafe that will feature fabulous drinks and milkshakes (with optional CBD add-ons), creative morning and lunch dishes that pull from a number of international cuisines, and a variety of gluten- and dairy-free eats, all served in a wildly colorful and exciting setting.

Dakota 94

5304 W. Devon Ave., Chicago

Dakota 94 in Chicago
Bison Burger (Photo courtesy of Dakota 94.)

This family-friendly American spot undoubtedly has what you want, no matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Between bison burgers, fish and chips, and a Nutella baklava for dessert, on top of classic salads and breakfast foods, there’s something for everyone. The bar menu focuses on craft brewers such as Goose Island, Revolution Brewing, Against the Grain, Urban Chestnut, and Sketchbook Brewing. To further sweeten the deal, Dakota 94 offers a great range of daily specials.

Education

Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion Early Learning Center

2550 W. Addison St., Chicago

This Spanish immersion day care center and preschool is the first early childhood language-immersion facility in the city. Rayito de Sol offers an award-winning, fully immersive Spanish language program for children between the ages of 6 weeks to 6 years old. It offers both full- and part-time childcare and allows students to improve their language facility in English and Spanish while receiving personalized care from licensed and experienced native Spanish-speaking educators.

Fitness

Forever Om Yoga

281 W. Townline Road, Vernon Hills

Forever Om Yoga expands beyond its original Highland Park studio to a second location in Vernon Hills. All of the class spaces are heated to 90 degrees with 60 percent humidity and air purification to help practitioners become their healthiest, most flexible selves. “FOY focuses on the dynamic power of flowing movement in a hot environment with a specialized way of teaching for a creative and intense practice,” says founder and owner Cilla Stoll. “All yogis are encouraged to follow their own intuition in doing more or less in the room. No one is the same and no body should look the same in the practice.”

Equinox

2355 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

Equinox’s fifth location in the Chicago area can be found at the Lincoln Common residential, retail, and dining space in Lincoln Park. After your cycling, barre/yoga, or Pilates class (or personal training session), stop by the spa and Real Good Juice to unwind and refuel for the day.

Shop/Eat/Play

New at Westfield Old Orchard

4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie

An influx of new businesses are coming to Westfield Old Orchard. For shopping, check out Best of 2019 winner North Shore Exchange, a high-end resale store selling “luxury and contemporary women’s designer fashions and accessories, as well as stunning furniture and home decor.” For eating, try the buzzy Hampton Social, which debuted a fantastic new dining rooftop this summer. If you’re looking for something completely new, visit Presented by Amazon, which introduces “thoughtful and experiential brands” on a rotating basis, and the newcomer MassVR gaming experience, which is the North Shore’s first immersive virtual reality dreamscape.

Work

Dayhouse Coworking

2057 Green Bay Road, Highland Park

If you’re trying to get your business off the ground but just can’t seem to focus at home, a coworking space may be right for you. North Shore native Jen Luby founded Dayhouse Coworking, located in downtown Highland Park, to help those who need an office-like environment without the actual office. The Highland Park location already has 30 members, and while all reserved desks are currently occupied, there’s still plenty of space in the flexible seating areas. Get your work done in the beautiful airy spaces, make yourself a cup of coffee and catch up with coworkers in the kitchen, even drop your littles in the play space — and leave work at the office when you go home.


Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone. Jessica is also a supporter of MAZON and No Kid Hungry