With more than 7,300 restaurants in the city, it can be quite overwhelming to decide on a restaurant for your next corporate dinner. Rather than relying on your old standbys, switch up your menus and environs for an event that will leave your guests feeling both inspired and satisfied at one of these five spots in different neighborhoods.
River North – 339 N. Dearborn St.
With a name that describes traditional Japanese swords and chef Masa Adachi (formerly of NoMI Kitchen) heading the sushi program, L.A. import Katana from Innovative Dining Group slays in both food and atmosphere. Opened about a year ago, it’s undergone a series of improvements recently thanks to new General Manager Dan Carr, who brings contagious energy and creativity to the space. Book the front bar space for cocktail hour, which also has a private room seating up to 12; you can also rent out the top level (which has A/V capabilities and screens) or the entire restaurant. Menu must-adds include the Katana sushi roll, hanabi (spicy tuna atop addicting crispy rice squares) and any steak cooked over the robata grill.
West Loop – 905 W. Randolph St.
The food at this new spot on Randolph is good, and the cocktails are great, but The Darling isn’t truly about either one. The atmosphere—best described as a whimsical escape from reality—is unlike any other place in Chicago, and is what will sell planners on hosting an event here. Not to spoil the surprise, the entrance is a bit like entering a new world through a secret garden; once inside, details like Beauty and the Beast-inspired roses and a working train that circles the perimeter are magical. The larger upstairs hosts marvelous secret entertainment acts, and will be available for private event rental in 2019.
The Loop – 155 W. Van Buren St.
Opened this fall steps from the Adams/Wabash L stop and the Chicago Board of Trade, Taureaux Tavern is an excellent option for corporate groups needing a convenient spot for drinks or dinner (or even a breakfast meeting). It’s already become one of the top spots in the area for happy hour, and with French cuisine like steak frites and lobster thermidor bites complementing a robust menu of bourbons and whiskeys, it’s easy to see why. Event planners have lots of space options to choose from: the main bar (seating up to 100), the main dining room (80 seated), the mezzanine level (36 seated) or a full buyout (120 seated or 300 reception-style). A patio accommodating up to 100 for receptions will be in high demand come summer.
Band of Bohemia
Ravenswood – 4710 Ravenswood Ave.
As the only Michelin-starred gastropub, this unassuming spot located in a former Oreo cookie factory in Ravenswood has made quite a name for itself over the last few years. Co-owned by Alinea vets Craig Sindelar and Michael Carroll, BoB (as the locals call it) is first a brewery, second a restaurant. As such, it creates menus to pair with Carroll’s unique beers (there are about five on tap at any given time). Groups can take advantage of the eclectic space with a restaurant buyout or call to request information on the newly unveiled private event room in back.
Union Full Board
Wrigleyville – 3473 N. Clark St.
Anyone who has visited Wrigleyville in the last year or so will tell you its easy to see how much it’s been classed up recently, with several new hotels and many new restaurants making the neighborhood a destination for more than just baseball lovers. Inside The Wheelhouse Hotel, opened this fall, groups can feast on delectable Detroit-style pie at Union Full Board for a different take on the classic in a pizza-centric town. The intimate street-level restaurant can accommodate 50 for dinner or 110 for a reception, while the accompanying speakeasy-style bar downstairs, Tinker to Evers, can hold an additional 35 seated or 80 for a reception. For out-of-towners tight on time, this neighborhood gem provides a true sense of place in a historic area still celebrating the 2016 World Series Champions.