Chicago is getting a new City Hall. You’ll actually want to go to this one.
The new “City Hall,” opening in June at the corner of Kinzie and Green Streets in Chicago's West Loop, pays homage to the Windy City in the form of a come-as-you-are gathering spot for drinks and bar food in a relaxed atmosphere. The venue, comprised of three distinct spaces (5,000-square-foot bar and restaurant, 8,000-square-foot enclosed patio, 10,000-square-foot event space) within a freestanding, fully renovated brick and timber building complete with 40-foot-high ceilings in the West Loop neighborhood.
“The West Loop was historically home to many of Chicago’s legacy meatpackers. It has very recently transformed into one of our city’s most dynamic mixed-use neighborhoods, home to tech giants and trendy restaurants,” explains Joe Manna, City Hall’s operating officer. “We wanted City Hall to reflect the grit and glamour that make Chicago great.”
Eating and Drinking at City Hall
Chef Michael Taus (Charlie Trotter’s, Zealous, Taus Authentic) has developed City Hall’s menu, crafting pub fare, in some cases using old family recipes to create his versions of bar dishes. Many Chicago purveyors will be featured across the menu.
“Bright, delicious drinks using ingredients you don’t have to Google,” says Alec Pignotti, City Hall’s beverage manager, explaining his approach to City Hall’s cocktail menu, which will offer seasonal, ingredient-driven originals alongside the classics. Pignotti managed the standout bar programs at RM Champagne Salon and Nellcôte prior to joining City Hall.
Beyond standard-sized cocktails, City Hall’s mixed drinks are going large… and small. Transforming the office ritual of conversations around the water cooler into a boozy one, large format drinks will be wheeled out in tabletop-sized water coolers and served tableside. On the small side, the bar will offer a dedicated menu of mixed shots aka “Kickbacks” (a nod to how city government really works) exclusively served in shot form, offered individually and in flights.
City Hall will feature eight local beers on tap. “Using local beers on draft is all about freshness. We want to give our customers the absolute freshest beers we can get,” say Pignotti. “We also want to do our part to support Chicago producers and businesses.” Rounding out the beer program is a selection of beer brands in cans and bottles. While the beer program is locally focused, City Hall’s curated collection of wines will be globally oriented, with 15 countries represented on the menu.
Classic rock and pop from the ‘60s through the ‘90s is City Hall’s soundtrack, with DJs playing various evenings. On Friday nights, live rock, pop and funk bands will perform from 10 p.m. to close.
Events at City Hall
The event space at City Hall has a separate grand entrance on Kinzie Street, opening into the expansive, industrial venue. Skylights run the length of the building and bathe the space in natural light. The open hall brings in classical and neoclassical design elements that emulate those of historic city halls in Chicago and across America.
In addition to hosting private functions, City Hall will produce its own signature events in the space throughout the year and will be a home for farmers markets, makers markets and other community events.
Design and Amenities
The interiors of City Hall stay true to the building’s pre-1920 roots. Most of the original brick remains in the column-free event hall, as do the detailed truss ceiling and 20-foot clerestory windows. The building’s industrial character is preserved with touch points inspired by historic municipal buildings, while classic details and finishes, including custom chandeliers.
In the bar and restaurant, retractable glass-paneled garage doors open directly onto the patio. The dining room is anchored by a 40-foot wooden bar. Leather chairs, bar stools and tufted couches add to the ambiance.
Unlike our municipal government, City Hall will be open seven days a week. Even holidays.