—It’s December, so that means bars and restaurants start strategizing on how to convince Chicagoans to leave their warm homes during winter. Outdoor activities such as ice skating and curling are popular, and over on Rush Street, The Gwen Hotel has unveiled a new curling rink on its rooftop deck, extending the space’s usability through the snowy season. It’s an iceless rink, and the hotel’s bartenders will serve from a seasonal drink list with spiked hot chocolates and more. Admission is $25 per person for 30 minutes of play (the cost includes a drink). Groups of two to four can book a spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the hotel at (312) 645-1500. Check out the drink menu below.
—A little somm news in the West Loop, where the owners of Sepia and Proxi have found a replacement for Arthur Hon. They’ve named Jennifer Wagoner as wine director for the chef Andrew Zimmerman and co-owner Emmanuel Nony’s neighboring restaurants. Wagoner starts on December 18, shedding Miami’s tropical weather for Chicago’s winter. She worked as lead sommelier at StripSteak, a Miami Beach restaurant from celebrity chef Michael Mina (coincidentally, Mina opened his first Chicago restaurant, Margeaux Brasserie, earlier this year). Wagoner has big shoes to fill. Hon, who left for New York, earlier in 2017 was named a Food & Wine sommelier of the year. The Tribune spoke with Wagoner.
—DMK Restaurant Group has pushed back the opening date of their new restaurant along the Elston Corridor. Fort Willow, 1721 N. Elston Avenue, was pegged for a late December opening. A spokeswoman now said the restaurant, right around the corner from DMK’s Ada Street, will open in mid January. They’re waiting to finish the private event space.
—Bar Cargo, the new Roman pizza bar from the Stefanis, is offering a white pizza topped with eggs and white truffles shaved table side for $500. River North high rollers can pair that with a bottle of Dom Perignon. Phil Stefani, himself, sourced the truffles from an Italian market in Alba, according to a spokeswoman. Truffle season typically last through the first week of December.