Now, we talk about hotel bars a lot, but they tend to be of the boozier variety. This is the first bar dedicated to chocolate we’ve come across.
To clarify, the “Chocolate at the Pen” bar is not so much a bar as it is a decadent buffet presented by Executive Chef Kai Lermen and Executive Pastry Chef Hsing Chen (who’s put in time at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants) in the Peninsula’s sprawling fifth-floor lobby sitting area every Friday and Saturday evening.
Master confectioner Norman Love consulted on the Chocolate Bar and came up with menu additions like a live-action station where a kitchen staff member creates crepes to order for guests. Other sweet treats and morsels on offer include chocolate-dipped beignets, chocolate tapioca, chocolate-peanut tarts, white hot chocolate infused with lavender, chocolate-dipped strawberries, assorted macarons, and chocolate truffles, though menu selections change from week to week.
Reservations for the Chocolate Bar are available for times between 8:00-10:00pm, and are recommended since it tends to be quite popular, so if you want to book a table, call (312) 573-6695. It costs $40 per person ($20 for children under 12) and includes unlimited coffee, tea, cappuccino or espresso, and the full selection of morsels and desserts. For $10 extra, guests can also get a chocolate martini or a glass of sparkling wine, and for guests already dining in the Lobby, adding on the Chocolate Bar to their dinner bill is discounted to $20 extra per person.
The evening takes a sophisticated turn starting at 8:30pm when a live jazz band and singer take the stage for “Jazz at the Pen” and play until 11:30pm. Dancing is recommended. How else are you going to burn off all those decadent chocolate desserts?
Full disclosure: Eric Rosen spent one night as a guest of the Peninsula Chicago, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own.