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South Loop’s Stunning New Terrace Lounge Debuts With $669 Cocktail

Take a look around SX Sky Bar inside the renovated Hotel Essex

SX Sky Bar offers views of Grant Park and Museum Campus.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Note: the price of the Dominatrix cocktail has been updated to $669. Updated story follows.

Last week, the reborn Hotel Essex reopened in South Loop. That’s the new name for the Essex Inn, which opened back in 1961. Now billed as a “luxury lifestyle hotel,” the space at 800 S. Michigan Avenue. A neighboring building contains 479 apartments. Occupants of the hotel and apartment building need to eat and drink, and that’s where the complex’s sixth-floor lounge and club comes in: SX Sky Bar opens Thursday to serve guests.

The spot is from Oxford Capital, the company behind LondonHouse and the Godfrey. Nightlife, rather than food, is the main draw to the lounges at those two spaces, and you can expect the same vibe at SX Sky Bar. The windows retract allowing views of Buckingham Fountain, the Bean, and the Museum Campus. Inside, the food menu includes snapper sashimi, duck confit carnitas, and Kentucky fried cauliflower. Dishes are supposed to be lounge friendly, but at the same time give customers enough food for a full meal, even if the tables are a bit small for a feast.

High rollers, take note: The cocktail list includes a $669 drink called the Dominatrix. It’s a large-format cocktail made with Dom Perignon Brut, Clase Azul Reposado, orange liqueur, candied oranges, lime, and agave, served in a crystal vase. There are also call-outs to the drink in the decor.

This is a two-level space. Guests enter through beads on the sixth floor. They can descend stairs toward a dance floor on the fifth level. The floor uses light-projection map and there are rotating holograms above the northern bar, according to a news release.

Walk through the lounge below. SX Sky Bar opens on Thursday.

Enter the space through this wall of hanging beads.
One of two bars inside.
There are benches on each side of the room with C tables.
A variety of seating options await customers.
Like many hotel food and dining spaces, the key is to have flexibility to cater to many customers.
The booth looks like a hollowed airplane.
The Champagne light fixture is a nice touch.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Take a seat at the bar.
Living wall planters are becoming trendy.
Another shot of the bar.
The vibe will be much different at night.
The menu features sushi and shared plates.
Customers will be envious of the light fixture.
Management is proud of the makeup counter.
A view of the restrooms.
The stairs lead to a dance floor.
These seats are for those not ready to dance.
These seats surround the dance floor.

SX Sky Bar at Hotel Essex

808 South Michigan Avenue, , IL 60605 (312) 939-2800 Visit Website

SX Sky Bar

808 South Michigan Avenue, , IL 60605 (773) 633-0214 Visit Website