Offshore Chicago: Does it live up to the hype?

Offshore Chicago: Does it live up to the hype?
Offshore opening. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

There's been lots of hype about, Offshore Chicago, the nation's largest rooftop patio. Yes, I said the NATION'S LARGEST--not Chicago's, but the largest across the USA.

At last night's grand opening party it became official when Offshore received the award for the Nation's largest rooftop patio from the Guinness Book of World records.

Award announcement. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Award announcement. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

But is bigger better?

In this case I'd say an emphatic YES. Surrounded by a 360-degree view of what arguably is one of the best skylines anywhere, doesn't hurt.

Chicago skyline looking south. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Chicago skyline looking north. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Although large--the space can comfortably handle a 1000+ people--it manages to maintain an intimate feel. Throughout you'll find seating groupings that create small "rooms" for gathering.

Seating areas outside. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Seating areas outside. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Offshore is first a bar not the place you'll want to go for a sit down white table cloth dining experience.

The drink menu offers an upscale list of craft cocktails created for the season along with craft beers and an extensive wine list.

A 100 foot, 60-stool bar straight down the center of the interior pays homage to the importance of the bar/lounge aspect of Offshore.

The indoor bar. Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The indoor bar. Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

However food is not forgotten. And if what we sampled last night is any indication--it is very good and beautifully presented.

Deviled egg appetizer topped with lobster and caviar. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Deviled egg appetizer topped with lobster and caviar. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

On the menu, helmed by Executive Chef Michael Shrader, are small plates and shareables with a California accent focusing on seasonal, modern American cuisine with global influences.

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Upon entering Offshore, guests are greeted with a wall of cascading, colorful propellers that are flanked by two slate metal vintage series pool tables on either side. The pool tables are just part of the fun and games available. Bocci ball is also expected to be a favorite with guests.

Back to the drinks. At last night's grand opening, guests were treated to drink samples that are featured on the summer drink menu as well as drinks at the bar. Along the way we tasted a Beachfire Margarita from Altos.

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

"Wild Thing" from Jim Beam packed a punch and was especially popular with the serious drinking crowd.offshorewildthing

Effen offered an original take on the Cosmo with a drink they call, "Sailing Miss Daisy," a combination of Effen vodka, orange shrub, lime and cranberry. Perfect for the summer.

Sailing Miss Daisy from Effen. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Sailing Miss Daisy from Effen. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Outside, architectural parasols run the length of the 20,000 square foot Terrace, along with communal tables lined with clusters of globe lighting positioned in netting floating overhead.

The exterior space also offers high top tables for patrons to mingle and enjoy a cocktail. Seven fire pits, spread throughout, helped to keep things warm last night when temperatures were flirting with the upper 50's.

On the Southeast end of the terrace, a stage for live entertainment that overlooks the city’s skyline was definitely rock'n last night.

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

And the crowd was loving it.

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

One more thing. Through Labor Day, the Pier offers fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday. Personally I can't think of a better spot to view them than Offshore on the third floor at the very east end of Navy Pier above Festival Hall.

The hours of operation for Offshore are Monday – Thursday 4 p.m. - midnight, Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. – midnight. Patrons must be 21 and over to enter Offshore. Offshore is easily accessible through the pier, with ample valet service available for only $15 versus the sky's the limit rates at the Pier's parking garage.

More al fresco

For more al fresco drinking and dining for the summer of 2019, click here.

Guinness Record

The Guinness Book of World Records has officially recognized Chicago’s Offshore atop the Navy Pier, as the World’s Largest Rooftop Bar, boasting over 52,300 square feet of indoor and outdoor space.

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