Rooftop patio season is cherished in Chicago as if locals blink, they’ll miss out on the sun and the ice and flurries will be back in town. This year, patios take on even more importance as stay at home has given outdoor dining a different meaning. In Wicker Park, a new Hyatt Place Hotel on the corner of North and Ashland avenues on Thursday debuts a new rooftop bar that’s looking like a good place to eat and drink while socially distant.
The bar space, on the hotel’s seventh floor, is called the Kennedy, and it’s not directly named ofter a politician. The deck gives visitors a few south looking over the Kennedy Expressway. That should remind locals of an easy way to spot Chicago newbies: They call highways by numbers (the Kennedy would be 90/94 for out of town folk).
The Kennedy’s deck gives a unique view of the traffic coming in and out of downtown along with panoramic views of the Willis Tower. A portion of the space lies under a retractable awning to keep patrons dry. The usual rooftop accoutrements: fire pits, over-sized lounge chairs, and TVs fill out the space.
There’s even a few Jenga sets, but due to COVID-19 worries, the game won’t be out for customers. Limbo might be a socially distant friendly replacement. There’s also an indoor lounge. For folks who miss their Third Place, with coffee shops closed, hotel spaces may gave them a viable option.
It’s been a whirlwind opening plan for the Hyatt. The pandemic delayed construction. As hotel crews were finally figured out a new plan, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s lift on outdoor dining, which began last week, threw the Hyatt another curveball. They weren’t prepared to open, so they quickly readied the space. As pictured, the tables and chairs comply with the city’s guidelines. Depending on crowds, they may add more tables. Predicting customer behaviors is difficult right now, as the Hyatt and others are taking their time. That’s something commuters are used to doing during rush hour on the Kennedy.
Wicker Park doesn’t have too many rooftop spaces. Taxim, the Robey, Whiskey Business, Etta, and Paradise Park are examples. The Kennedy will join them. It’s a radical change from the gas station that occupied the space for years.
Take a look around the Kennedy below. The roof deck is finally open in Chicago.
The Kennedy, on the seventh floor of the Hyatt Place, 1551 W. North Avenue, open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday to Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.