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The gin-focused 221 B cocktail from Apogee includes Pimm’s No. 1 Tangerine and a cotton-candy garnish dusted with basil powder. 

Elevated Cocktails

by Maggie Hennessy | Men's Book Chicago magazine | May 15, 2017

From a Latin poolside lounge overlooking Wicker Park and a Japanese-style rooftop hideaway, here are five reasons to hit the “roof” button when the elevator doors close.

Apogee
With over-the-top cocktails to match its 26th-floor digs, Apogee brings some mad science to the former home of Vertigo Sky Lounge in the Dana Hotel and Spa. The Fifty/50 Group Beverage Director Benjamin Schiller (The Berkshire Room and The Sixth) shifts his attention to large-format cocktails, with uniquely garnished concoctions for up to eight ($13 to $400). Burnt marshmallows dipped in anise and coconut ash adorn The Fifth Char ($15), with Jim Beam rye, falernum and demerara. The luxe blocHaus-designed lounge features fluted walnut panels and vintage-inspired light fixtures, anchored by a long, gilded marble bar. Outside, intimate lounge seating encircles a yellow-tiled fire pit for all-season revelry. 660 N. State St., 312.202.6000

Cabana Club
Picture yourself poolside, salt-rimmed margarita in hand, with views down Milwaukee Avenue to downtown. Wicker Park’s only public hotel rooftop, Cabana Club caps off a yearlong renovation of a 1929 office building into boutique hotel The Robey. The poolside bar accommodates up to 160, though you’ll need a room key if you want a dip in that triangular pool. The vacation theme extends to an indoor lounge with floor-to-ceiling views. The menu leans Latin, with Mexican sippers like palomas and margaritas ($8 to $15) and finger food such as shrimp and tuna tostadas ($5 to $6). Only the whir of the L will remind you the nearest ocean’s about 800 miles away. 2018 W. North Ave., 872.315.3050

Celeste
Because Chicagoans love a rooftop even when it’s not 80 degrees out, multilevel restaurant and bar Celeste enclosed its Venetian-style rooftop bar this winter to allow for year-round fun. Already a secluded escape with ivy-coated brick walls, the garden got a bit of sprucing too, via glittering chandeliers and a refreshing new drink lineup from Beverage Director Liz Pearce. Headlining are four new large-format specialty cocktails in striking copper vessels. The bracing Neon Mule ($18 for one, $40 for two to three, $150 for four to five), with Absolut Elyx, Leblon cachaça, Kaffir lime, ginger and citrus, may be summer’s perfect sipper. 111 W. Hubbard St., 312.828.9000

Noyane
The last of three Conrad Chicago concepts from superstar chef Richard Sandoval, this rooftop lounge was worth the wait. Meaning “hidden roof” in Japanese, Noyane is a serene escape awash in gray tones with greenery accents. The seasonal outdoor space features a bar-height fire pit table for chillier nights. Shareable dishes like wagyu sashimi ($12) and king crab maki ($25) complement a Japanese-leaning drink list of beer, sake and cocktails. Feeling decadent? Ask for the off-menu caviar Champagne roll ($500), which gets you a bottle of Krug and chef’s-choice surf-and-turf roll with caviar garnish. 101 E. Erie St., 312.667.6700

Roof on theWit
A longtime nightlife fave suspended 27 floors above downtown, Roof on theWit made over its menu just in time for rooftop season. Drawing inspiration from Moorish Spain and the surrounding spice-bearing regions, chef Nate Sears plies diners with aromatic cold, hot and hearth-roasted dishes ($10 to $22), such as oxtail-stuffed piquillo peppers and grilled beef kabobs infused with pomegranate and warming cinnamon and cardamom. The beverage team crafted a sophisticated lineup of large-format craft cocktails ($150 to $200). Roof’s second-annual JetSet Series of immersive food, drink and entertainment experiences ($100 per person) kicks off Memorial Day weekend with a dazzling homage to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Barcelona. 201 N. State St., 312.239.9501