Raising the rooftops for food and views

May 18, 2012 (CHICAGO)

"J. Parker was the bodyguard of President Abraham Lincoln, so we are sitting in the Lincoln Hotel and sitting up here guarding Lincoln once again as John Parker on the roof," said Kevin Boehm, co-owner of the J. Parker.

The views of the zoo, the lake and the city are impressive, but so is the food, which comes from Perennial Virant downstairs: think rainbow trout with wild mushrooms with a soy-chili-mayo, and ribeye steak with herb butter, topped with an arugula salad.

"I think we want it to be casual enough that people felt like it was accessible to come up here on a daily basis, but we wanted to have heightened food and we wanted to have heightened beverage," said Boehm.

That's Erin Hayes' job.. who'll be using spirits, syrups and bitters to create a vibrant cocktail program.

"Every menu will be three vacation destinations. And we're starting out with Mexico, Cuba, and Spain. And within each category, she's going to do two classic cocktails from that area and two that she's created on her own," he said.

In the relatively new neighborhood of Lake Shore East, 3 Forks has carved out a massive rooftop patio, with views of the Aon building, the Aqua and an assortment of glass-walled high-rises. Complementing the view, small bites like deviled eggs and tenderloin flatbreads.. not full meals, but great snacks for sharing with a drink, as you soak up the city views.

Another city perspective is offered atop the Rafaello Hotel on the Near North Side, at drumBar. If your cool bachelor uncle had a crash pad in the city, this would be it. Couches, umbrellas.. and plenty of Italian-inspired nibbles like cured meats, grilled pizzettas and assorted cheese plates.

"Rather than it being all like 100% focused on the cocktails and this mixology, which we have a great focus on, we also wanted to create something that was like scenic, great music, just as the speakeasys used to be back in the day," said Benjamin Newby, Manager of drumBAR.

So Chicagoans really know how to take advantage of our limited summertime, there are now at least a half dozen places throughout downtown where you can sit, eat, and drink all beneath the stars..weather permitting of course.

The J. Parker
1818 N. Clark St.
(312) 254-4700
Closes 12 a.m.
Note: The J. Parker opens to the public on Monday, July 30th.

201 E. Delaware Pl.
(312) 943-5000
Thurs-Fri closes 2 a.m.
Sat closes 3 a.m.
Mon-Wed & Sun closes 11 p.m.

III Forks
333 E. Benton Pl.
(312) 938-4303
Closes 12 a.m.

Other rooftops in Chicago:

Peninsula Hotel - The Terrace
108 E.Superior St.
(312) 573-6744
4th Floor
Closes 11 p.m.

Park Hyatt
800 N. Michigan Ave.
(312) 239-4030
7th Floor
Sun-Thurs: Closes 11 p.m.
Fri-Sat: Closes 12 a.m.

theWit Hotel
201 N. State St.
(312) 239-9501
Mon-Fri: Closes 2 a.m.
Sat: Closes 3 a.m.
Sun: Closes 10 p.m.

Dana Hotel - Vertigo Sky Lounge
2 W.Erie St.

166 E. Superior St.
(312) 523-0923
Mon-Wed & Sun: Closes 11 p.m.
Thurs-Sat: Closes 12 a.m.