Escape the Winter Doldrums at These 5 Spots
Winter can be a real drag, especially when your eyebrows freeze from the negative windchill and your mittens make using your cellphone impossible. While it’s easy to be miserable when the sun sets at 4:00 PM, know that we’re in the business of making you happy, even if your Seasonal Affective Disorder gets in the way.
So if you didn’t already have plans to snowbird away this winter, join us at these amazing locations that’ll whisk you off to those relaxing places you constantly daydream about.
Hidden beneath the bustling streets of the River North in Chicago lies cold weather retreats Three Dots and a Dash and its cozy, hidden gem The Bamboo Room. Adorned from top to bottom with island and tiki design, there’s no better place in the city to sip on some of Chicago’s most refreshing (and elaborate) cocktails. The expansive rum-forward menu is a jaw-dropping cornucopia of cold-pressed juices, fine island spirits, and exotic spices served a variety of mugs that invoke that cravable feeling of relaxing on the beach.
If you’re seeking a more intimate setting, The Bamboo Room tucked cozily away near the entrance of Three Dots is perfect for tropical spirit aficionados of all palate levels. This reservation-only room offers different tiki cocktails than Three Dots, as well as exclusive, interactive guided rum tastings. Whether you’re enjoying a daiquiri or a neat pour, sip, savor, and learn from some of the city’s savviest spirit connoisseurs.
Summer is more than just a season; it’s a mindset! That’s what you’ll find when you dine at the California-inspired Summer House Santa Monica, located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and North Bethesda in Maryland. Brimming with natural light and decorated tastefully with hanging greenery, the interior of Summer House feels like a beach house. Enjoy a variety of dishes from Chef Ben Goodnick chock full of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Whether you’re enjoying something hot off the wood-fired grill or a famous cookie from the bakery, Summer House brings the pace (and warm weather vibes) of the West Coast right to you.
Aba – Chicago
Famous for its meat-packing past, Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood gives off chilly industrial vibes from its lofted spaces, exposed pipes, and spacious warehouses. You might have to layer up just reading that sentence! However, that’s not at all the case at Aba, the restaurant and rooftop patio designed to evoke summer in the Mediterranean. Greenery takes center stage as the sun-soaked dining room makes for an ideal setting to indulge in Chef CJ Jacobson’s Instagram-worthy plates incorporating influences from the Mediterranean including Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece.
Pizzeria Portofino – Chicago
One of LEYE’s newest restaurants, Pizzeria Portofino is designed to bring the luxurious Italian Riviera to the banks of the Chicago River. Even when the weather drops below freezing, the restaurant’s bright colors, cute hanging lights, light Italian fare and copious amounts of natural light will warm you right up. The menu features favorites such as hand-stretched pizzas, charcoal-grilled seafood and Ligurian focaccia stuffed with Stracchino Cheese. By the time your meal ends, you may just be ready to invest in a boat and start planning your next summer on the water.
Most of us would like to take an elaborate French vacation this winter, but sometimes the hassle of dealing with airports, hotels, and itineraries just aren’t worth the effort. Enter Mon Ami Gabi, a classic French bistro that oozes the romance and “ooo-la-la” of Paris. Mon Ami’s intimately lit dining room makes you feel right at home while the garlicky, buttery aromas are indescribable. Start off your meal with a fresh, crusty baguette and let your worries float away like steam off of the Onion Soup Au Gratin. Wash it down with a beautiful St. Emilion Grand Cru from the signature wine cart, and boom, European vacation-mode achieved!
So don’t let the winter get you down this year. We strive to put you in that vacation mindset whenever you dine out and these five places are sure to please. Get out there, bundle up, and have fun!