If you’ve got a group of millennials to entertain, you’ll want to choose a venue with a cool factor that provides an authentic Chicago experience. Luckily, Chicago offers lots of venue options, from breweries to concert halls and even a city winery. Here are five ideas to help get your planning started.
1. Thalia Hall
Located in the happening Pilsen neighborhood, the Thalia Hall complex is a one-stop live entertainment, dining, and drinking venue housed in a landmark 1892 building that was originally a Czech meeting hall. Plan a live music performance or presentation in the renovated Thalia Hall, featuring state-of-the-art light and sound blended with original details like opera boxes and a wraparound balcony. Thalia Hall can accommodate 800 for a standing cocktail party, or up to 240 for a seated dinner.
Or arrange a private dinner at the hip, beer-centric Dusek’s Board & Beer, a Michelin star restaurant. The restaurant can be closed to the public for large groups, seating 90 guests for dinner/150 for a cocktail party. For an evening of casual mingling, the retro Punch House in the basement of Thalia Hall offers spiked punch bowls for sharing, accommodating 100 for a cocktail party/130 when combined with the intimate Beer Cellar private dining space. Smaller groups can opt for the saloon-like Tack Room, seating 45 for dinner/75 for standing cocktails.
2. Revival Food Hall
All-local dining concept Revival Food Hall, located in a historic Loop building, brings together some of Chicago’s favorite restaurants, serving eats like tacos and Tokyo-style ramen from 15 fast-casual stalls. Located on the ground floor of the Daniel Burnham-designed National building, the marketplace measures a massive 24,000 square feet. Rent the entire food hall for large groups (300-650 guests) or reserve the sixth-floor Lounge for an indoor/outdoor cocktail party (up to 250). For smaller groups, the Travel Agency is a semi-private dining room on the first floor that seats 35 for dinner/45 cocktails.
3. Revolution Brewing
Revolution Brewing, the largest independently owned brewery in the state, offers dozens of beer styles with big, bold flavors. Bring groups to the Logan Square Brewpub’s Brewers’ Lounge (130 cocktail/110 seated), or rent a private space at the Kedzie Tap Room (225 cocktail/170 seated) in Revolution’s nearby brewery. Private brewery tours (which include beer samples), as well as set menus and packages, are available.
4. KOVAL Distillery
Using grains sourced from organic farmers, this specialty Ravenswood distillery serves an array of whiskeys, liqueurs and specialty spirits (from dry gin to barreled peach brandy) in its no-frills tasting room. KOVAL Distillery’s private meeting room can be booked Mondays and Thursdays from 9am-5pm (rentals include projection equipment and a screen). When the work is done, private tours, cocktail classes, and whiskey workshops can be arranged.
5. City Winery
Located in the West Loop, City Winery is a fully functioning winery that features a restaurant and music hall. Rent the Concert Venue that combines the rustic appeal of wine country with modern features like a top-of-the-line Meyer sound system and a full-size stage for a musical act or DJ. The flexible floor plan can be configured to accommodate 240 seated or 350 standing. You can also arrange a seated dinner for 250 guests, with Mediterranean cuisine and wines provided by City Winery. Winery tours and tastings are available.