You heard that it was coming. You read about the cocktail program's destinations of Mexico, Cuba and Spain. And now you can experience it all since the J. Parker quietly (but not too quietly) opened Saturday night during a gorgeous near-perfect summer evening and officially opens today at 5 p.m.
The Boka Restaurant Group's latest project, set atop the Hotel Lincoln, offers one of Chicago's most stunning views looking out over Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Gold Coast. With approximately 160 total seats (or about a capacity for 250 with standing room), the glass-enclosed, open-sky J. Parker has comfy couches, cozy banquettes, high-top tables and bar seating. There are two full working bars, one inside and one out. Greenery and trees grace the space as will two fireplaces (one strategically set in the center of the prime corner booth with the best view in the place) and cabanas.
While Perennial Virant and J. Parker beverage director Erin Hayes has been busy working hard at pulling together her first set of destinations cocktails (we can tell you the PV Margarita with Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila is quite tasty), she also offers a Moscow Mule with Death's Door vodka and a Parker Collins with Death's Door gin. All of the property's specialty cocktails are priced at $13 while the housemade punch bowls, meant for larger groups, will run you $200.
Chef Paul Virant has pulled together a playful small plates menu where guests get to create their own dish. You get to select an item from column A, like Q7 Ranch beef steak ($8) or Rushing Waters rainbow trout ($9) and pair that with something from column B, like River Valley mushrooms and pickled garlic, fried pickles or pea shoots with lemon and EVOO. Since Virant works so closely with local farmers and the markets, the menu offerings can change frequently, sometimes daily.
And while the J. Parker is near the water, be warned: if you're coming off the beach or from a run in the park, there is a dress code. No team jerseys or sleeveless shirts allowed; flip flops can be OK, but it depends what else you are wearing. This is good to know as the lounge will open at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays starting this weekend.
Thirsty? Hungry? Here's what you can expect from the J. Parker in that area:
Want a closer look at the space? Watch this video put together by the Boka team as a first glance at the J. Parker: