LOCATION SCOUT

2016 Preview: 10 Most Anticipated Chicago Venues for Meetings and Events

The conference spaces, eateries, drinking spots, and more slated to open in Chicago for events and entertaining next year.

By Jenny Berg December 29, 2015, 7:00 AM EST

Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel

Rendering: Courtesy of Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel

Looking for a new venue to host your next event? Here are the most anticipated Chicago restaurants, corporate event venues, hotels, conference centers, and party rooms to open next year. These new and renovated Chicago venues will accommodate groups large or small for private and corporate events, conferences, meetings, weddings, business dinners, teambuilding activities, cocktail parties, and more.

1. Set to open in the spring, LondonHouse Chicago is a luxury hotel with 425 rooms. The 22-story building is on Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Its Juliette Grand Ballroom, on the third level, will hold 500 guests for receptions. On the concourse level, the Whistler Ballroom will hold receptions for 300. There will be three event spaces on the fifth floor, ranging from 383 square feet to 1,369 square feet; the sixth floor will have two more event spaces. Two restaurants, two private dining rooms, and a trilevel rooftop bar will occupy the 21st through 23rd floors. Private dinners and cocktail receptions will also take place under the Cupola, a Beaux-Arts dome on the top floor.

2. Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat plans to open Duck Duck Goat in the West Loop in 2016. The restaurant will serve Chinese cuisine such as Peking duck, noodles, buns, and rice.

3. Celebrity chef Rick Bayless plans to open Cruz Blanca, a brewery, in the spring. At 900 West Randolph Street, the venue's details are still being finalized, but potential components could include a tasting room and food service. The flagship beer will be La Guardia, which is brewed with hominy, the Mexican herb epazote, lime peel, and coriander.

4. The Dearborn, a restaurant and lounge, will open at Block 37 in the summer. On the corner of Randolph and Dearborn Streets, the 8,000-square-foot venue is a project of Amy and Clodagh Lawless (of the Lawless family that owns other local establishments such as the Gage). Billed as an urban American tavern, the space will seat 225. The menu will offer contemporary, seasonal cuisine, and the bar will serve beers and classic American cocktails.

5. Spin, the ping-pong social club with international locations, will open in Chicago in early 2016. The venue will have two bars, 20 ping-pong tables, private lounges, and a full kitchen and bar. It will hold 700 guests.

6. A new Conrad Hotel is slated to open at 101 East Erie Street in the spring. The hotel will have 289 rooms. Though other details are still being finalized, Eater reported that the hotel could have a ground-floor Italian café and a retro-style restaurant on the 20th floor. There could also be a rooftop bar.

7. Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel has begun construction on phase two of its $8 million renovation. Scheduled for completion in March, the renovation will add a terrace bar, a new ballroom, and 4,000 additional square feet of meeting space. The terrace bar will overlook the Chicago River and will have fire pits, seating for 160, and 14 taps with local beers. The 3,000-square-foot Looking Glass Ballroom will have floor-to-ceiling windows and host weddings and special events. The Junior Cloud Gate Ballroom will expand from 4,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

8. From the Revel Group, Revel Motor Row is tentatively slated to open at 2400 South Michigan Avenue in late 2016. Occupying a 1930s building across the street from McCormick Place, the dedicated event venue will hold 2,500 for cocktail parties and 400 for seated dinners. It will also have a 7,000-square-foot courtyard.

9. Fat Rice, the wildly popular fusion restaurant in Logan Square, will open a private dining room in 2016. Adjacent to the restaurant, the space will serve as a bakery and snack bar during the day; menu items will include egg tarts and freshly baked bread with accompaniments such as octopus salad. At night, the space will host seated functions for as many as 30 guests. The bar will have six seats; surrounding tables will have 24 more.

10. Imperial Lamian, the first United States concept from the Indonesia-based Imperial Group, is scheduled to open winter 2016. With an open kitchen, the restaurant will serve modern, authentic Chinese food including freshly pulled lamian noodles and savory dumplings. The executive wok chef, Andy Foo, apprenticed in Southeast Asia for 19 years and was formerly the executive chef of a restaurant in Singapore. The restaurant will be located in River North.

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