From a gorgeous Bronzeville gallery to private dining in the trendy West Loop, some of Chicago’s most exciting event venues and restaurants are helmed by women. Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner or a large corporate event, you’re sure to find the perfect place. We’ve rounded up some of Chicago’s top women-owned venues to help get your planning started.
Guests will love viewing the inspirational artwork curated by co-owner Frances Guichard at Gallery Guichard, a 7,000-square-foot venue located on the first floor of the Bronzeville Artist Lofts. The customizable space pairs well with any event — from company retreats to elegant dinners — with catered food, cocktails, and live music. The Great Migration Garden, dotted with sculptures, is ideal for alfresco events. Gallery Guichard’s indoor space can accommodate 299 standing guests or 170 seated.
Mae District offers 10,000 square feet of space in a two-story South Loop landmark that features its original exposed brick and steel beams. Spaces range from an office suite with conference room, to The Collection Room seating 25 people for dinner, to the combined June and Jades spaces that can accommodate up to 400 guests reception style. And be sure to ask about the private Secret Garden patio. Bonus: Mae District is just a short walk from McCormick Place.
Gather small or large groups for team building and bonding while playing state-of-the-art golf simulators at Five Iron Golf in the Loop. When attendees aren’t swinging their clubs, they can mingle on comfy couches and watch their colleagues play. Golf lessons can also be part of the event, in addition to food, drinks, and games such as ping pong, shuffleboard, and billiards. Five Iron Golf’s events team can help plan your experience for 50-plus guests, with a full buyout available. There are also Five Iron Golf locations in Lincoln Park, River North, and at The Metropolitan inside the downtown Willis Tower.
With original art as a colorful backdrop, the nonprofit Pilsen Arts & Community House opens up its flexible space for corporate meetings, gatherings, and retreats. The cultural center, co-founded by mixed-media artist Teresa Magaña, accommodates 30 guests seated at tables or 50 people reception style. Tables, chairs, a small kitchen, Wi-Fi, and a projector screen are available. The flat rate to rent the space for private events starts at $50 per hour.
Built as a tribute to Greek culture and history, the impressive National Hellenic Museum sparkles in Chicago’s Greektown neighborhood. From ample use of glass and limestone to a dramatic skylit staircase, the museum balances opulence with minimalist design. Rent the venue for a variety of events, from meetings for 20 to dinners that can accommodate 200 guests in the Great Hall. The Rooftop Terrace offers skyline views for receptions of up to 175 people. Use your own vendors or consult the museum’s preferred list for catering, bartending, sound systems, and tables and chairs.
The Bronzeville Winery is a destination dining experience — created by hospitality design trailblazer Cecilia Cuff — that combines diverse art, live music, seasonal food, and wine. The winery can assist meeting planners in creating an unforgettable event for up to 300 guests that includes a perfect food-and-wine pairing menu. The wine list is curated by Anika Ellison, one of the industry’s few Black women sommeliers. Gatherings can be anything from sit-down dinners or standing receptions with appetizers, to talks and corporate meetings. If you have a small group, reservations are always accepted for parties of seven or fewer.
For exquisite Mediterranean cuisine designed to complement any gathering of 10 to 100 guests, book a private event at Nia in the West Loop. Opt to seat 100 in the largest banquet room, reserve the intimate wine cellar for smaller groups, or head outside during the summer for terrace seating along Randolph Street’s Restaurant Row. Create a custom-designed menu, ranging from tapas to family-style dining. Or consider the 10-course group tasting feast with a premium bar package.
With its sleek decor and a new menu focus, the critically acclaimed Vermilion continues to be a River North favorite for private dining and events. New Delhi-raised restaurant founder Rohini Dey now offers Indo Chinese fare, after 20 years of serving a fusion of Indian and Latin American cuisines. Are you planning an event with appetizers and cocktails, a formal sit-down dinner, or perhaps food stations? It’s all possible in several contemporary spaces that can accommodate as few as 10 guests or as many as 350 with a restaurant buyout. Vermilion also offers off-site catering.
In the Avondale neighborhood, eden prepares fresh, seasonal fare with ingredients grown in its own greenhouse and sourced from local farmers. The modern restaurant offers private dining rooms for all meals of the day — from breakfast and brunch to lunch or dinner. Custom-made cocktails and desserts can be added to the menu. Full buyouts are available, as well as cozier spaces for 22 in the Slate room and 18 in the Selenite room. Amenities include streamed music, TV screens for slideshows and presentations, and a tech team on staff to assist.
The welcoming Mi Tierra in the Little Village neighborhood is owned by a Hispanic father-daughter duo. Known for its colorful atmosphere and authentic Mexican cuisine, Mi Tierra offers buffet and family-style meal options, in addition to catering off-site events. Choose from three private rooms with capacities of 50, 100, and 300 people (ask about the dance floor rental). The staff will help customize both the space and menu to fit your needs. Entree choices range from full or half-pans of chicken, pork and beef dishes to enchiladas, burritos, and vegetarian options like poblano peppers. Round out the meal with rice, beans, and salads.
Plan a dinner for up to 70 guests in the Pullman neighborhood at Lexington Betty Smokehouse, known for its flavorful Chicago-style barbecue cooked up by Chef Dominique, who has competed on Food Network’s Chopped. Menu options include beef brisket and pulled pork, with savory sides like gouda mac ’n’ cheese, baked beans, and collard greens. The restaurant also offers off-site catering services, including Betty Boxes for corporate lunches and the Betty Food Truck, which can pull up to your event site.
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