Police cars barricading streets, helicopters hosting steel 280 feet into the air, sexy girls in hard hats – a whole new kind of commotion construction is hitting one of Chicago’s most coveted rooftop scenes. And come May 9, ROOF, theWit hotel’s rooftop lounge, is upping the ante with the big reveal: a brand-new, all-glass-and-steel retractable roof that will turn this swanky, spacious outdoor bar into a year-round, rooftop destination.
Who knew those dancing babes could weather hard-core construction so well?
This is Chicago, folks, and that means rooftop season is impossibly short or fickle. A local ordinance also calls for outdoor patios across the city to close after midnight, which means even the most gorgeous of summer nights are cut far too short. But all that changes with theWit’s retractable roof -- a 30-foot wide by 21-foot tall behemoth -- which turns ROOF’s outdoor patio into a spectacular, all-glass nightclub after midnight. No need to shuffle back inside, instead you’ll be fighting to keep that outdoor seat on the 27th floor with top-to-bottom views of the Loop and its many high rises, Lake Michigan, the sky -- you name it.
Taken last season, theWit's outdoor patio at ROOF before the new retractable roof came to town.
If you’ve been to theWit, a retractable roof makes complete sense. Located in the thick of the city’s Loop and theater district, this Chicago hotel has always been about embracing its surrounding city views with style. No matter where you are in theWit – the spa, the fitness center, the restaurants, your room – you'll often spy views of everything from the L train and street level to Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. Now from the ROOF, the views just keep on coming through rain, sleet, snow and the wee hours.
All this talk of the outside might have you thinking ROOF’s indoor lounge space is a slouch, but not so. In fact, we think it’s one of the coolest indoor rooftop bar spaces for all its space, creative layout and, of course, more striking city views.
Rates at theWit, a Doubletree by Hilton hotel, currently start at $229 per night.
Photos: theWit Hotel and Nina Kokotas Hahn