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Two New Rooftop Bars to Watch

June 6, 2016

londonhouse rooftop bar

It’s the season for hotel rooftop bars, and two brand-new ones have opened in the past week. The first is the new rooftop bar crowning the LondonHouse Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, DNA info reports. Billed as the city's first three-level rooftop, the bar atop the landmarked Beaux Arts tower at Michigan and Wacker Drive shows guests unmatched views of the Magnificent Mile and the Chicago River

"It's a fun environment with some of the best views of the city," Riley Huddleston, the bar's executive chef and beverage director, told DNA info. 

Called LH on 22, the rooftop seats about 190 and requires an online reservation. Seats for up to three people at the bar are free, while tables for four to six are $50 per person and tables for eight to 12 cost $100 per person. The rooftop is above an indoor 21st-floor bar called LH on 21, and in a few weeks the building's distinctive cupola can be reserved for private events starting at $1,000. 

The table reservation fees are deposits toward a guest's bill. 

The rooftop is part of a more than $80-million effort restoring the historic Michigan Avenue office tower into a 452-room hotel with a glassy high-rise next door. 

LondonHouse, 85 E. Wacker Drive, takes its name from the first owner of the 1923 tower: the London Guaranty & Accident Co., an insurance company, as well as the London House jazz club that once occupied the building's ground floor.

Crain Communications and other office tenants filled the building until developer Oxford Capital Group acquired it in 2013. Oxford took out an $84-million construction loan to build the hotel before selling the property last month for $315 million, according to Crain's. At $697,000 per room, the price was the highest per-room ever paid for a Chicago hotel. The hotel plans to eventually add another restaurant and shops on the ground floor, a spokeswoman said.

Huddleston said the hotel's menu is "reimagined American cuisine" nodding toward the history of the tower built on the site of Fort Dearborn. Cocktails range from $12 to $18, and food includes smoked salmon tartare and duck fat fried chicken wings ($14). 

The rooftop is open from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily, while LH on 21 will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 or 3 a.m. daily. Bridges, the hotel's lobby bar, is open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. LondonHouse will host a ribbon-cutting Wednesday after opening last week. 

The second opening is H&L Social in Traverse CityMI, located at the top of the city’s Hotel Indigo, My North reports. Overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay in the Warehouse District, H&L Social officially serves both Hotel Indigo Traverse City guests and the public.

Hotel Indigo Traverse City rooftop bar

Named after Traverse City lumber barons Hannah and Lay, H&L Social offers full-bar service and small plates from the downtown hotel’s restaurant, Warehouse KiTChen + Cork. Chef Nicholas Battista concentrates on keeping cuisine local, with food sourced from Northern Michigan and across the state. Nicholas was trained at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, and his expertise took him to The Greenbrier, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, and Aerie Restaurant and Lounge at the Grand Traverse Resort before his position at Hotel Indigo.

In addition to about 120 seats on the rooftop, H&L Social features three fireplace tables available for lounging and roasting s’mores. The inviting atmosphere incorporates Northern Michigan outdoors elements throughout the rooftop and hotel, staying true to Hotel Indigo Traverse City’s mission of celebrating the neighborhood it resides in. From beach stones to locally-made barn doors, nature murals to birch log accents, natural characteristics inspired by water and Traverse City’s logging history are apparent in every part of the hotel.

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