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What’s hot near McCormick Place

Chicago’s McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, is open once again and looking forward to upcoming big shows like Fabtech in September and the NACS Show 2021 in October. While they’re here, your attendees will want to check out what’s hot near McCormick Place, from a slick bilevel brewpub pouring craft beers to a state-of-the-art hybrid production studio at the Arie Crown Theater and a new hotel nestled in the heart of Chinatown.


Stephen Gillanders, chef-owner of Pilsen’s acclaimed S.K.Y., recently opened Apolonia in the South Loop. Named for Gillanders’ grandmother, Apolonia specializes in coastal European and Mediterranean dishes, such as grilled branzino draped with marinated olives and house-made tagliatelle tossed with seared scallops. Wines are sourced from around the globe, and custom-blended Apolonia vermouth is offered on tap. The airy 100-seat restaurant features a private dining room that can accommodate 20 guests.

Il Culaccino pasta

Located just steps from Wintrust Arena is Il Culaccino, which melds traditional and modern Italian favorites. Dishes range from veal Marsala to house-made gnocchi filled with provolone and ricotta cheeses. Private parties can opt for the covered and heated year-round patio or main dining area, accommodating up to 250 seated guests.

Haidilao, the largest hot pot chain in China, has opened a Chicago outpost in the South Loop. The restaurant serves Szechuan hot pot, in which diners cook their own meat and vegetables in a rich, boiling broth. Unique entertainment is also on the menu here. Robots ferry out diners’ food, which includes Kurobuta pork and Wagyu beef. Noodles are hand-pulled tableside by a dancer who theatrically shapes them with graceful loops and twirls. There’s also an expansive sauce bar, which includes desserts and fresh fruit.

Also check out: Bureau Bar & Restaurant, The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, Chicago Oyster House, Harbor Chicago, Tapas Valencia, TeaPotBrew Bakery, and Victory Tap Chicago.


Fatpour Tap Works McCormick, named for its hearty 22-ounce pours, is a sleek, two-story brewpub located in the Hiltons at McCormick Place. Fat Pour features a variety of craft beers on tap paired with elevated pub fare that ranges from wood-fired pizza to cowboy ribeye steak. Plan a dinner in the second-floor private dining room or a cocktail party on the outdoor patio.

Also check out: M Lounge, Moody Tongue Brewing Company, and Motor Row Brewing.


Hybrid events and experiences can be held at the new ACT Hybrid Production Studio powered by Freeman, located in the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place. The state-of-the-art studio, with capacity for more than 4,000 people, uses Hollywood-grade technology and a 400-square-foot video wall to engage audiences both in the theatre and worldwide through streaming virtual environments and augmented reality.

Lips Drag Show
Photo courtesy Of Kyle Flubacker

Lips Chicago is the first Midwest location of the dazzling drag show-and-dinner venue. The candy-colored South Loop location features a big, sparkling stage and roomy aisles for the glamorous drag queens to sashay down. The menu includes bites like parmesan-encrusted chicken and grilled Atlantic salmon. Don’t miss the Sunday Dragalicious Gospel Brunch, which includes unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys. Plan a fabulous drag dinner or diva cocktail party for up to 200 guests.

Revel Motor Row is a former Chicago Motor Row District landmark that’s been transformed by The Revel Group into a stunning private event space. Founded in the early 1900s, Motor Row got its name from the car companies like Ford and Packard that built some of their first-ever auto showrooms there. Initially the headquarters of the Illinois Automobile Club, in later years the Revel Motor Row building also housed the Chicago Defender, a prominent African-American newspaper. The Spanish Revival-style structure has retained much of its charm, including beautiful stained glass windows and woodwork. Revel Motor Row offers 50,000 square feet of event space, including a sprawling outdoor courtyard that links to a former Cadillac showroom. Revel Motor Row can accommodate 2,600 for a full venue reception.


SpringHill Suites by Marriott Chicago Chinatown is located in the heart of one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, not far from McCormick Place. The 148-room, all-suites hotel is situated on Wentworth Avenue, surrounded by Chinatown’s colorful shops and restaurants. An intimate, 343-square-foot meeting room can accommodate 12 people.

There are plenty of new lodging options in the nearby Loop, as well. The Chicago Hotel Collection, known for its boutique hotels that reflect the unique style of their surrounding neighborhoods, has opened an all-suites location near Millennium Park.

The LaSalle Chicago, Autograph Collection is a luxurious 234-room hotel located on LaSalle Street in the heart of the city’s Financial District, perched 21 stories above street level in the landmark Continental building. Meeting spaces include a lavish ballroom, private dining room, and an executive boardroom.

The 215-room Canopy by Hilton Chicago Central Loop is located directly across from the Willis Tower, home of the thrilling The Ledge attraction at the Skydeck Chicago observatory. The boutique hotel offers the all-day Depot 226 bistro and a 675-square-foot meeting room.

Just north of the Loop is Pendry Chicago, located along The Magnificent Mile in the stunning Art Deco-style Carbide & Carbon Building, featuring 364 redesigned guest rooms and suites. Its Venteux Brasserie, Cafe & Oyster Bar offers elevated French fare by Michelin-starred chef Donald Young. The 24th-floor Château Carbide is a seasonal, garden-like rooftop bar inspired by the Côte d’Azur. The hotel offers 13,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including two ballrooms and a terrace with Michigan Avenue views.

Learn more about McCormick Place’s South Loop neighborhood.

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