The highest bar in Chicago is the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center — an open level perched above the lofty, two-story Signature Room restaurant. The décor of both seems frozen in a vaguely deco, mauve and brass memory of your aunt’s favorite big city restaurant. But you’re not here to contemplate the ambiance, you’re here to revel in the astounding views of the city and the seemingly boundless Lake Michigan through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
So pick a sunny afternoon, skip the lines and entry fee on the building’s 94th floor observation deck, and head two floors up where, for the price of a cocktail or two, you can relax and gaze at the sailboats dotting the glittering blue waters far, far below or watch the rosy sunset slowly melt beyond the city skyline. The effect is similar to floating in a giant, gentle dirigible 1,000 feet in the air.
What to drink? Skip the Old Fashioned (it’s soused with club soda) and go for the Chicago’s Best Sidecar or the Maker’s Mark Manhattan straight up – both are perfectly prepared. Or a double shot of one of the classy Scotch whiskys from the premium shelf.
A small but pricey wine selection offers fine vintages from California, with one notable exception: the lovely 2013 Good Harbor Riesling from Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan. Local Goose Island and Two Brothers ales are the best choices for memorable brews. The select bar menu includes icy raw bar delicacies, a classic Mediterranean plate and crispy Margherita pizza.
The best scenic view of all is said to be found out the window of the ladies’ room.
875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL