Venue Trends: Rooftops Keep Popping

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Circa at The Gwen
Circa at The Gwen

It seems at least once week we come across another interesting new rooftop venue at a hotel.

The recently rebranded The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Chicago, is launching its new dining concept Circa restaurant and lounge this month. The restaurant, adjacent to the newly renovated lobby, is located on the fifth floor of the hotel, which is housed within the iconic McGraw-Hill building. Circa is an upscale, inviting and approachable restaurant and lounge. Inspired by the symmetry of book bindings that McGraw-Hill once printed in the building, Circa offers a generous and spacious layout for large groups, couples, or the individual traveler.

Coinciding with the opening of Circa is the arrival of the fifth floor outdoor terrace, Upstairs at The Gwen. With fire features and cityscape views, Upstairs at The Gwen offers “a respite from a day of shopping on Michigan Avenue or The Shops at North Bridge as well as a lively gathering place to enjoy Chicago’s summer evenings.” Guests at Upstairs at The Gwen can enjoy the Circa craft cocktail menu as well as the snacks and small plates in Circa along with its signature Social Sips selections. Those include:

Poptail, a frozen prosecco popsicle; finished with La Marca Prosecco ($14)
Prohibition Punch made with Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Effen Dutch Raspberry, triple sec, fresh lime juice; garnished with a lime, orange, and lemon ice mold (For 4 people, $55; For 6 people, $75)
Bubble Bucket of four splits of La Marca Prosecco to share ($46)

For guests looking for an elevated take on drinks, the Prohibition Porter offers a tableside cocktail experience. The Prohibition Porter can be booked in advance to create complex cocktails tableside that not only are inspired by the 1930s, but also showcase the craft of cocktail making. The menu is a return to tradition, featuring drinks such as the Old Fashioned, Gin Rickey, and French 75. The Prohibition Porter is available to be experienced in Circa or Upstairs at the Gwen, as well as in guestrooms. The 30-minute experience, $75, must be booked in advance, and serves up to four cocktails.