That was fun to have something historic that you're able to nod to Chicago's drinking history.
A historic landmark directly across from Millennium Park, Chicago Athletic Association has transformed 12 S Michigan Ave into a novel downtown Chicago Loop hotel and distinctive dining destination – featuring its crown jewel Cindy’s, best rooftop bar in Chicago with views of Lake Michigan, the second-floor bocce-and-billiards Game Room, and Chicago’s first Topgolf Swing Suite. Hosting an event, or just having a large group for dinner? We knew it wasn't perfect, but we knew what we could do and we just needed the time to do it. We've got to tweak all these recipes I thought I had for these drinks." Our sixth floor rooftop doesn’t just come with panoramic city views—we’re also equipped with a cocktail bar. Given that, we tried to respect the historical use of each space, and develop concepts around them. What was the most challenging part of the wine program? People are definitely taking notice of this — even the people that travel quite a bit and come into this place, and there are not too many places like this, not only in Chicago, but even in the U.S. anymore that's in this good of shape and looks this great. There are reminders every day of that different style of bartending. PM: I didn't, (but) obviously Milk Room is not the first eight-seater. Who else when this place opened had a 13-story rooftop that overlooks probably the best view in the city? Keep it up, The Hotel at Midtown! Did you expect the success or to start a trend? As a CAC member you have access to hundreds of weekly Group Fitness Classes as part of your membership, including dance, yoga, cycle, strength training, boxing and kickboxing, pool classes and so much more. It spoke to me about the sensibility of the ownership of the hotel, and the management of the hotel and what they want to see in here, which was something a little different than what you would typically see in a hotel. How can we create that/utilize the kitchen space to pump out 300 covers on a busy night? It was a fairly limited scope so that's kind of where we jumped off with.
PC: I think from working downtown (at The Gage), I had a good idea of what to expect as far as clientele, and business. PM: I think so. AA: Yeah. When we got access to the space I think we were in here 10 days before opening and most of us were staying (at the hotel). PT: We had the second floor, and the second floor had a lot of landmark restrictions and requirements but we just kind of knew we had the entirety of the space. That's always a treat to be able to make cocktails with these expensive, rare spirits and stuff. We are proud to partner with many wonderful organizations in Chicago as diverse as the neighborhoods we call home. Related dishes. Gym, Pool, Sauna, Breakfast, Restaurant...I am sure I am missing something. No need to head inside when you’re lounging outside by the pool. PT: The New York Public Library, of all places. On perhaps Chicago's highest-trafficked locale—on Michigan Avenue across from Millennium Park and the tourist destination The Bean—the slumbering giant Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (opened in 1893 and closed in 2005) awoke one year ago with multiple public spaces: a reimagined restaurant built on original menus from the 1890s (Cherry Circle Room), a raucous bar room with a bocce court and other gaming tables (Game Room), a serene cafe and lobby (Drawing Room), an exclusive ticketed 8-seat rare spirits-driven cocktail bar (Milk Room), a ground-floor Shake Shack, perhaps Chicago's most popular rooftop lounge (Cindy's), all in a gorgeously restored 19th Century time capsule that netted a James Beard Award in 2016. PT: No, I think when we first came on it was uncertain who was going to operate it. Who has a game room with billiards and shuffleboard and a full bocce court that's all free that you can come here at 12/1 in the morning to play and have fun? 340 reviews of Chicago Athletic Association Hotel - Temp. EG: There was a brass plaque on the bar for a really long time that said "Pete's Bar" and every time we went by it we were like "It's Pete's!". How Chicago Athletic Association Turned Its 123-Year History Into A 2015 Groundbreaker Welcome back to One Year In , a feature in which Eater sits down for a … THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN OF THE CHICAGO ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION HOTEL, CINDY'S ROOFTOP RESTAURANT AND OPEN-AIR TERRACE OFFERS PANORAMIC VIEWS OF MILLENNIUM PARK, SPARKLING LAKE MICHIGAN, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, AND BEYOND. The fact that you might not even want to leave the premises. Stop in for a creative meal and a refined experience fit for foodies. PM: I think the coolest thing about the bar in Cherry Circle Room is that you can still see the cigarette stains on the bar but you can also see the cigarette stains that are closest to the bartender so you can see where the bartender was actually putting their cigarette down and that burn in the bar top as well.
I got everything I could get my hands on, and being able to find more of these older spirits and taste them side by side with the current production was night and day and I said "oh my god. I think this is groundbreaking for the future as far as the business, this place couldn't be in a better location. Our sixth floor rooftop doesn’t just come with panoramic city views—we’re also equipped with a fabulous cocktail bar.
It appealed to me also having a chance to do so many different things under the same roof. Many of us stayed here, I think I was here for two weeks before I went back home.
As a guest of our Chicago hotel, you are an honorary member of our world-class athletic club. And then of course, a little bit later was when we developed the Milk Room. Lakeside views are astounding. PM: The challenging thing about it was definitely finding out the history of the building, and what Milk Room was all about before we even thought about doing the cocktails. How did the history play into your cocktail menus? Established in 1898, the WAC was the first athletic club for women in America. How did you go about filling roles for a project of this scope? I had the opportunity to meet the service director who the icing on the cake. When we first started figuring out what we wanted to do with the wine program for Cherry Circle Room, we wanted to do kind of a very precise, restrained approachable wine program. Evanston Chamber of CommerceLincoln Park Chamber of CommerceLakeview Chamber of CommerceLakeview East Chamber of CommerceCentral Lakeview AssociationLincoln Square Chamber of CommerceWest Loop OrganizationWicker Park Bucktown Chamber of CommerceEast Village Association.
Whether you're refueling after a morning at the club or treating yourself to a great meal before a night on the town, you won't have to go far to eat well during your stay. I think that's a lot of people will use this as the stepping stone on what else is built in the future. I really didn't. As far as authenticity what we're doing, everybody can see that it's unique, we're in a very unique space, and so from the start we were always tasked with embracing the uniqueness of the space and just trying to take it and contemporize it, make it great, make it cool. Let's talk a little bit about Milk Room.
PC: So that was really where it started. We have a very casual game room, a frozen drink machine, all these other fun cocktails that are designed to be kind of in your hand quickly, because it's a big room with pool tables, foosball, bocce, and that's when we went with the pitchers of beer too. This one property has so much to offer — if you want this incredible view, and this style of food and this style of drink, you got it, and they execute it very, very well. After you opened, what did you have to change or deal with? I went in for the first time the other day, into Cherry Circle Room to eat for the first time as a guest walking in — my mind was blown.
Set yourself up for success when you host your meeting in Chicago at The Hotel at Midtown's unique event spaces. I had no idea. Just swing by Chromium’s outdoor window to enjoy some great food and a cold drink. PC: I think they have to be (more creative in the future). The menu is consciously crafted with natural, energizing foods to treat the body and mind right. We're next to pretty much everything — tourists as well as parks, museums, all the businesses, hospitals, the local condominiums, so for this area, I don't think a landmark like this could be in better use. © 2020 Chicago Athletic Clubs. Milk Room, historically, has had a number of different uses, but the most appealing one to us was during prohibition. Can you pinpoint one thing in here that was the most unique or challenging or interesting or hard that you found or unearthed and had to do in this space? PM: One of the things I wanted to do was, again, having the food have a little historical element to it, so when we designed the cocktail list, we would have our house cocktails on one side and a rotating selection of historic cocktails from the early 1900s or so and the first one we did was from a bartender who wrote the book in 1914, and he worked at the Blackstone Hotel. Peter Toalson: Land and Sea was approached in spring of 2013, with the prospect of looking at the project. This is my home away from home. So we had to really design the drink menu that would enable the bartenders to make their drinks quickly and without sacrificing the quality because it is high volume. It's not the same product anymore, it's changed in the bottle over the last 50 or 60 years. PC: I think we figured out a lot of what we can and can't do. But we're also on Michigan Avenue — I've worked down here before and a lot of people don't want you to necessarily tell them what their opinions about wine should be, or that you don't have X, Y or Z from Argentina or you don't have Italian Pinot Grigio or whatever it might be. The Woman's Athletic Club of Chicago is a private club for women nestled in the heart of downtown Chicago. As a guest of our Chicago hotel, you are an honorary member of our world-class athletic club.
"Created by ladies, for ladies", it elected Mrs. Philip D. Armour as its first president, and the prestigious membership included the wives of many prominent Chicagoans. Is that a thing in Yelp? It was one of Chicago's most historic and exclusive mens-only private clubs for more than a century. I think throughout a month, to two months to six months to a year now, I think we're pretty much hitting all across the board from the house, service, cocktails to wine. Get menu, photos and location information for Cindy's - Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in Chicago, IL. On March 1st of this year, Chicago Athletic Clubs team "The Glass Cutters" participated in the 20th annual Chicago Polar Plunge fundraiser to raise money for Special Olympics Chicago. If you’re in a hurry, just pop over to the Grab & Go Counter for a quick bite. Cool off in either pool, or relax your muscles in their accompanying whirlpool.
So we obviously knew that the Drawing Room was to act out also as the lobby, so we knew we wanted to put together some programming for that which complemented the lobby but then also helped us transition into the rest of the space. After (or before) a tough workout or long day exploring Chicago, you’ve earned some time at The Spa at Midtown. We've never worked in the Loop, I think we all had preconceptions about the Loop, and thought that nothing stays open past 8, dead on weekends, and things of that sort, and that's been kind of the biggest surprise, how much support and volume we've gotten from the second we open until the second we close.
Check out pictures from the event below! All of these menus, obviously we're not going to use those exact menus, but we're going to see how can we, especially Cherry Circle Room, bring some references from those historical menus to new light. The Game Room, again historically was used as game rooms, poolrooms, so we developed concepts around that. Chromium is the center of Midtown’s in-club dining. Peter Coenen: I was the first one on, aside from Paul.
Andrew, when did you come along and what did you think of the project? Chef, when you came aboard, how did you start putting together the food in all these spaces?
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