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The Great Escape: Icy Cocktails, Cool Hangouts

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Amalie Drury

It's my job to write about Chicago and all of its people, places and things. If it's new and it's cool, I'm checking it out.

Feel free to remind me of this throughly ungrateful statement sometime in mid-February, but at this very moment I can't help it: I've had it up to here with the heat. I want to take a break from sweating while waiting for a patio seat, sweating while making small talk, sweating while sipping a warmish beer and sweating while eating a link of encased meat that's hot off a sweltering grill. 

Call me a wimp, but this week I'm going AC-only, and I'm making plans to check out the coolest (75 degrees or less) spots in Chicago. Two things on the agenda so far: 

1. At Graham Elliot tonight, the bigshot chef and his rock star friend, Perry Farrell, will preview some of the gourmet goodies that will be added to Lollapalooza's (August 6-8) Chow Town this year. Move over, chicken skewers, make way for lavender-infused ice cream? Only time will tell. Well, time will tell me, and I'll tell you.

2. My best advice for visitors looking to hit up the Hancock is to skip the Observatory and head straight to the Signature Lounge for a cocktail with a view. A few weeks ago, though, the Observatory upped the stakes by opening a full-service liquor bar that allows sightseers to grab a drink and walk around checking out the skyline from every angle. The bar was developed by Italian coffee company Lavazza, so signature cocktails include chilly creations like the Lavazza Colada ($7.59): chilled espresso with cane syrup, vanilla gelato and Malibu rum. Yes, you'll pay Observatory admission fees to get to the top, but once you're up, the drink prices are fairly standard: domestic beers for $5, mixed drinks for $8, a selection of wines by the bottle or glass and more.   

Plan ahead for your next celebrity sighting...
Do I want to see Kid Rock at Soldier Field next Friday (the 30th)? It all depends on the forecast--if Skilling says it's going to be 96 with a heat index of 157, then no. But I wouldn't mind hobnobbing with Kid in the cool confines of his Crimson Lounge afterparty, where the rocker will rub elbows with fans after the concert. Tickets are $20 and advance purchase is recommended; e-mail lydiac@thompsonhotels.com or text 312.371.6932. 

Where will you keep it cool this week? Please don't say the Playpen. 

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3 Comments

Lisa Arnett said:

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I'm so with you! When I've had enough profuse patio sweating, my new fave is to hide out at Curio, the dark, cool cocktail bar below Gilt Bar.

Amalie Drury said:

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Hi Lisa! I just wrote a review of Curio for the September issue of Chicago mag. Gorgeous room, huh?!

Lisa Arnett said:

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Yes, love it. Can't wait to read your review and hear what cocktails you tried!

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