From stately boardrooms to intimate jazz showcases and blank-canvas event spaces, Chicago has a venue for everything from a lunchtime meeting to a fully produced party. Here’s a selection of five top spots from the event experts at BizBash.
For Elegant Meetings: Elysian
A luxury hotel in the Gold Coast, the Elysian is decked with marble floors, busts, and modern chandeliers. On the fifth floor, function spaces include the Sinclair ballroom, which can host receptions for 270. The Fitzgerald ballroom can accommodate meetings for 12, and the Hemmingway Salon can hold receptions for 100 or meetings for 36. The property’s other amenities include two restaurants and a cozy bar, a 14,000-square-foot health club and spa, and a private fleet of luxury cars, which can transport guests around town and to and from the airport. (111 East Walton St., 312.646.1300, elysianhotels.com)
For Group Activities: Let Lounge
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let Lounge
Located in the former beer garden of West Loop restaurant Market, Let Lounge is an all-weather ping-pong patio. With four 46-inch plasma TVs, rattan lounge furniture and—of course—ping-pong tables, the 2,500-square-foot space can hold 150. Owners can arrange to bring in referees for private ping-pong tournaments. The seasonal menu offers snacks such as curried crab cakes and Waygu beef sliders; specialty cocktails include a blackberry mojito. (1113 West Randolph St., 312. 929.4787, marketbarchicago.com)
For Downtown Cocktail Receptions: Phoenix Lounge
With classic Chicago views of State Street and the el tracks, the Phoenix Lounge is located on the mezzanine level of the Wit Hotel. Available for buyout, the semiprivate space seats 45 amid black velvet lounge chairs, leather sofas, and blue resin tables. At the bar, servers prepare classic cocktails such as Manhattans and pisco sours. Modern Italian small plates come from the kitchen of adjoining restaurant Cibo Matto. Staffers can arrange for live entertainment from jazz vocalists and instrumentalists.
(201 North State St., 312.467.0200, thewithotel.com)
For Raw Event Space: Room 1520
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Room 1520
Owned by a culinary photographer, Room1520 is a historic loft building in the West Loop with two raw event spaces. Upstairs, the 5,300-square-foot Sky Loft has two commercial-style kitchens, a fieldstone fireplace, and a lounge area with plush seating. It can be divided into two spaces—one 3,500 square feet, the other 1,500 square feet—or the whole space can be rented to host sit-down dinners for 150 or receptions for 300. Downstairs, the 4,500-square-foot Aérée Loft is outfitted with crystal chandeliers, white walls, and a glass-front entrance. The facility can host sit-down dinners for 150 or receptions for 250. Hosts are welcome to bring in caterers of their choosing, upon approval from the venue owners. Additional amenities include two marble bathrooms, photography packages, and wireless Internet. (1520 West Fulton St., 312.952.1520, room1520.com)
For Wining and Dining Clients: Girl & the Goat
Photo Credit: Jeff Kauck Photography
Girl & the Goat, the popular (and notoriously hard-to-book) West Loop restaurant that opened in July, quietly unveiled a private dining room in November. Now open to corporate groups, the lower-level space seats 16 and hosts so-called "underground dinners." Chef Stephanie Izard, a Top Chef winner, creates custom menus for each private meal. Sample items may include warm marinated olives, goat masala pizza, and bittersweet chocolate cake with shiitake gelato. (809 West Randolph St., 312.492.6262, girlandthegoat.com)
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