The Gold Coast will soon have a spot for some prime rooftop pool parties thanks to a new poolside restaurant/lounge from the Boka Restaurant Group (Girl & the Goat, GT Prime, etc.). It turns out that Boka will open not one, but two spots inside the new Viceroy Hotel. Devereaux will join Somerset and be open year-long with both indoor and outdoor space perched on the rooftop of the 18-story hotel.
Boka hasn’t committed to an opening date, only saying both restaurants will debut in September. Sept. 5 is the first date customers can book a hotel room at the Viceroy, 1118 N. State St. Devereaux’s space has a separate kitchen from Somerset, but chef Lee Wolen is creating the menus for both spots. Most people don’t want a heavy meal on a warm, steamy summer Chicago day near a pool, so expect lighter dishes like salads, crudo, and a smattering of other proteins, including a burger. Customers can order a full meal or grab a snack. It’s not a giant space, but should be comfy.
“It’s not an Olympic-sized pool,” Boka’s Kevin Boehm said, cracking a joke on Wednesday. “It’s a boutique pool.”
Boehm’s comment isn’t just about the size of the project, it also reflects Boka’s philosophy to the space. Boehm and Rob Katz understand the expectations involved in opening a restaurant in the Gold Coast, where incomes are higher and tastes can be picky. That’s why they’re opting to go the “boutique” route with a glam decor from 1930s-40s. Katz and Boehm feel the era just meshes well with Gold Coast. It won’t have TVs to distract patrons from the rooftop views that include a straight-on glimpse of Lake Michigan.
Boka has hired former Billy Sunday barman Lee Zaremba as Somerset and Devereaux’s beverage director. Look for more information on the cocktail program on Friday.
Rooftop bars aren’t new for Boka, as they’ve run The J. Parker, the top-floor space at the Hotel Lincoln, for five years in Lincoln Park. Most Chicagoans love rooftop bars in the summer, and that gives some operators an excuse to slouch on service. A beautiful view is no excuse for that approach, Katz said. They promise to ensure Devereaux meets the high hospitality standards customers expect from a Boka restaurant.
Devereaux will be open to the public, though hotel guests will have priority for seats. Keep it here for more information on these two Gold Coast projects as September approaches.