The Ace Hotel’s new rooftop bar Waydown — which despite the subterranean name, actually stands on the seventh floor — opens tonight for cocktails, snacks, and music at 311 N. Morgan St. in Fulton Market District. The space comes with a bar bites menu from chef Pat Sheerin and drinks from acclaimed Bay Area bartender Caitlin Laman. It’s a nice complement for City Mouse, the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant.
The bar moves away from the standard operating procedures for Chicago rooftop bars. There’s no bottle service, guest lists, hard-to-get reservations, or velvet ropes here. Instead, they’re aiming for more of a old-school watering hole vibe. They will also have nightly music and DJs.
Chicago points out that the 4,111-square-foot space features leather furniture upholstered with leather from the same company that makes footballs for the NFL, Chicago-based Horween Leather Co. There’s room for 250 with two outdoor space. The east patio accommodates 50, while the smaller west patio seats 15 to 20 people. Windows envelop the indoor portion of the bar.
The inspiration for the name Waydown, by the way, is a song from country/folk singer John Prine (a Chicago native). Waydown should be a place with a laid-back atmosphere that still offers some stunning panoramic views. Those views range from the West Loop industrial corridor with its graffiti-sprayed warehouses to the Loop’s skyline and to the Google Headquarters building across the street.
Ace, the Portland-based brand of hip hotels, opened its Chicago hotel over the summer. The hotel’s opening also brought the debut of its first-floor restaurant from Giant’s Jason Vincent and Ben Lustbader. Sheerin oversees the kitchen at City Mouse. He formerly worked at Trencherman in Bucktown and as a consultant at Parson’s Chicken & Fish in Humboldt Park.
Check out some highlights from Sheerin’s menu and Laman’s drink list below. The story will be updated with a full menu later in the day. Waydown officially opens tonight in Fulton Market.
Waydown, on the seventh floor of the Ace Hotel, 311 N. Morgan St., open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., and Sunday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Reservations not accepted.
Bar Bite Menu Highlights:
El Sombrero: Gluten-free smoked chicken-and-American cheese quesadillas served with Texas “caviar” and spicy pickles.
Stuffed mushrooms: Served with quinoa, porcini, black truffle and a “tofu fondue.”
French onion patty melt: On marbled rye with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese.
Hash Browns: King crab and pimento "kimcheese" dip.
Drink Menu Highlights:
Bird’s Eye: Four Roses bourbon, grapefruit, raspberry, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Angostura
Sherry Colada: Denizen aged rum, La Garrocha Amontillado, pineapple, coconut, lime
Illegal Smile: Ford’s gin, Campari, Alessio di Tornino Vermouth, cacao