Centrally located in Illinois, about a two and half hour drive from Chicago, the city of Peoria has many exciting developments happening this year. Here are three to put on your radar.

1. The rustic-themed Bearded Owl Brewing opened in January with a variety of unfiltered beers ranging from stouts to India pale ales to sours, using locally grown ingredients wherever possible. While it doesn’t have designated event space, the brewery makes for a good post-meeting gathering spot for a round of beers and various homemade soft pretzels.

2. Restaurateur Tom Mathers has reopened Harvest Café in Peoria’s Junction City after closing its location in Delevan last year. The menu will include classic dishes and desserts, plus smoked meats and barbecue. A variety of private dining spaces are available, including the Vintage lounge and a 40-person conference center.

3. Opening late summer 2018 (at press time), the 323- room Four Points by Sheraton Peoria adds 12 meeting rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting space to the city’s inventory, including a 12,400-square-foot ballroom. The hotel is within walking distance of local museums, shops, restaurants and the Peoria RiverFront.  

Jennifer Dalsbo, recreation sales manager for Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, just north of the Illinois border in Wisconsin, shares her best advice for planning a golf outing for a group.

 

Z BAR, the globally inspired cocktail lounge atop The Peninsula overlooking Michigan Avenue, offers customized batch cocktails for groups in an upscale, but relaxed atmosphere. The individual responsible for dreaming up and preparing these communal beverages is Vlad Novikov, who’s official title is director of cocktails and culture. Novikov’s travels frequently inform his mixology.