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Chicago Traveler
CloudBar: New sky-high lounge makes a toast to the best of Chicago
Photo provided by CloudBar

(Above) Barstool with a view. Looking north from the 94th floor of John Hancock Center. Photo provided by CloudBar.

Whether you are seeking a romantic tête-à-tête, an eye-popping excursion for out-of-town visitors, or something in between, the new CloudBar cocktail lounge soars to new heights.

5-Dec-22 – Panoramic city views, day or night, more than 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile bustle, while sipping and nibbling on the delights of local culinary entrepreneurs, is the idea behind CloudBar. The chic concept bar presents an authentic Chicago experience with views, artistry, and refreshment.

CloudBar is located at the 360 Chicago observation deck, the entire 94th floor of John Hancock Center at 875 North Michigan Avenue. It’s not quite the highest cocktail lounge in the city – the long-standing and iconic Signature Lounge is two floors above – but CloudBar has the advantage of 360-degree vistas of land and lake. On a clear day, you can see four states.

The European-style decor is sleek and modern so as not to detract from the main event outside the floor-to-ceiling windows. Ceiling mirrors and other reflective accents intensify the immersive effect of being in the clouds.

Take a chair right up against the glass if you’re not acrophobia-prone, or on conversational seating in the center of the space if you are.

Photo provided by CloudBar

On the menu are beverages and snacks showcasing Chicago’s neighborhoods and tastes like Moody Tongue Brewery, Garrett Popcorn, Kikwetu Coffee Company, Carol’s Cookies, and Vosges Chocolate.

I intended to order my usual chardonnay, but the Heavenly Martini (right) drew me with its festivity. It’s a lovely concoction of lemon vodka, blue curacao, and fruity liqueur topped with a cube of dry ice for a puffy cloud effect. It’s a recipe borrowed from the Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club in Lakeview.

Photo by Pamela Dittmer McKuen

While you’re in the heavens, there’s more fun and art to behold. Grab ahold of the sidebars on TILT, a moving full-length glass window that slowly slants outward 30 degrees over the street. Discover the quirky illustrations of street artist Lauren Asta. Have your photo taken while crouched upon the 3-D floor mural, an optical illusion by artist Nate Baranowski in which you appear to be sitting atop a tower crane.

CloudBar is accessible with a general admission ticket to the 360 Chicago observation deck. Prices vary, and various ticket bundles are available. Some include beverages, TILT rides, and even yoga classes. Above it all, you’re welcome to stay as long as you like.