The scene: Tourist-magnet restaurant Tavern at the Park is located in plain sight right across from Millennium Park, but its no-reservations rooftop is harder to find. Walk east on Randolph past the restaurant’s entrance and sidewalk seating and around the bushes to the host stand. Up a flight of stairs is a glass-walled space with views of the Cultural Center, Michigan Avenue and, of course, the park. Barstools line a small brick bar and sleek silver tables run along the perimeter, while misting fans help keep patrons cool (as does a covered air-conditioned space where the clean and spacious unisex bathrooms are located).
The crowd: Some folks wore business suits and others shorts and sandals, but it wasn’t squeeze-your-way-through crowded. No one watched the TV above the bar tuned to ESPN, and more shockingly, nobody was glued to a phone. Music played softly in the background as friends chatted, nibbled on flatbread and sipped white wine. Unlike nearby Roof at The Wit, this isn’t a see-and-be-seen place; instead, I was able to relax, catch up with friends and enjoy the scenery.