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2017 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 28, 2016, 7:15 AM EST

Hotel EMC2

Rendering: Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

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. Revel Motor Row, which began construction in 2013, is slated to open on April 1. One block from McCormick Place, the 1930s building was originally an automobile club. The venue will hold receptions for 2,000 guests or seated dinners for 400. It also has a 7,000-square-foot courtyard space and 10 rooms for private dining and breakout sessions. An additional 5,000-square-foot space, known as the Garage at Motor Row, will open onto the courtyard. The Garage will hold receptions for 250 guests.

2. Larkin Hall, an event space and catering kitchen from the owners of Blue Plate Catering, is set to open in the West Loop in stages, beginning in the spring of 2017. In all, the three-story building will offer 80,000 square feet of event space. A glass-enclosed rooftop will offer views of the Chicago skyline and open out onto a greenery-flecked terrace. Inside, the rooftop will hold 300 guests for a seated meal; it will hold cocktail receptions for 450. The outdoor rooftop space will accommodate seated dinners for 250 guests or cocktail receptions for 350. The second floor will offer three tasting rooms, a test kitchen, and an event space with a patio. There will also be a wine cellar with collapsible walls and dining rooms; it will hold receptions for 350 guests.

3. Punch Bowl Social will open a West Loop outpost in October. The 28,000-square-foot venue will house a restaurant and a bar, where specialties will include spiked milkshakes, black-eyed-pea hummus, and chicken and waffles. With a mashup aesthetic inspired by a mountain lodge and the Victorian age, the venue will also offer plenty of entertainment options for groups. It will have eight bowling lanes, for example, along with three private karaoke rooms, vintage video games, and ping pong.

4. The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago will wrap a major redesign in June. The updated hotel will feature refreshed meeting spaces, as well as a renovated restaurant and bar, spa, and lobby. The hotel has 25,000 square feet of meeting space.

5. With a concept inspired by Albert Einstein, Hotel EMC2 will open off the Magnificent Mile in March. The hotel will have 195 rooms and some 2,000 square feet of meeting space. Its tavern-style eatery, the Albert, will sling handcrafted cocktails.

6. In the Gold Coast, the Talbott Hotel will close on January 1 to undergo a $20 million renovation. Slated to reopen in May, the hotel will have 30 new rooms, giving it a total of 179. It will also have renovated conference rooms, a new fitness center, and a new restaurant.

7. Rhyme or Reason will open in Wicker Park in early 2017. The 1970s-inspired gastropub will have a DJ booth; DJs will play disco, funk, and soul on vinyl. The food and cocktail menus are still being finalized, but owners say that the venue will host private and semiprivate events.

8. The SafeHouse—a spy-theme restaurant, bar, and nightclub that's been open in Milwaukee for 50 years—will open a Chicago offshoot in January. With a password-protected entrance, the venue will have artifacts of espionage (think the flight deck from a WWII spy plane). Different areas with thematic names will include the Interpol Bar, the the Spybrary, the Seduction Lounge, and the Interrogation Room; there will also be a Gadget Bar with a nightly magician. Menu items will include burgers and cheese curds.

9. The team from Boka Restaurant Group—which helms Girl & the Goat, GT Fish and Oyster, and other popular Chicago restaurants—will launch a new concept in the spring. Details are mum so far, and owners haven't announced a location. But, according to The Chicago Tribune, the eatery will serve modern American fare from chef Jimmy Papadopoulos.

10. Cambria Hotels & Suites plans to open a 21-story property in the Chicago Loop in September. With 198 rooms, the hotel will have some 2,500 square feet of meeting space. It will also have a contemporary bistro offer proximity to the headquarters of businesses such as Boeing and Exelon Corp.

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