Dining Chicago

Where to Eat, Drink, and Gawk During the Air and Water Show

By mid-week, you'll be acutely aware that the Air and Water Show is coming. The loud din of jets "practicing" over the city is inescapable, and it's an exciting divergence from city life for a few days (unless you're the type reeling from terror under your desk or something like that). The annual summertime extravaganza, which takes place high above the city and along the lakefront, hence the self-explanatory name, is one of Chicago's favorite summertime attractions. One thing that sort of falls off the radar over the Air and Water weekend is where to sit, eat, and drink. The event draws quite the horde, so you'll want to park yourself someplace comfy, and preferably delicious. Because gawking at jets and boats is better when you're just a little bit tipsy. Here are a couple ideas for your viewing pleasure.


You'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot for Air and Water Show viewing than Caffe Oliva, the restaurant and bar literally located on the sand at Ohio Street Beach. Trust me, I went there for brunch one weekend assuming that it would be beach-adjacent and that I could wear nice shoes. Oops! The cute cafe offers picture-perfect views of all the action, plus it's offering a killer deal for hungry and thirsty thrill-seeking beach-goers. Caffe Oliva is offering tickets for $125 per person for Saturday and Sunday, which includes food and open bar from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. It's also offering tickets for seating during Friday's Air and Water rehearsal (pro tip: "rehearsal" is basically the same as the actual event, but with less crowds!) at 10:30 a.m. for $35 per person and 1:00 p.m. for $40 per person. Contact events@caffeoliva.com to purchase tickets.


The dec
(The dec. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton Chicago)


If you're looking to see the show from several stories in the air, head to The dec at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, where a special menu of "flights & bites" will set your taste buds soaring (that pun was irresistable and you know it). Available Saturday and Sunday, the rooftop cocktail haven provides stunning views of the lake and all the Air and Water action. The regular menu of craft and kegged cocktails will be on deck (teehee), along with a special selection of beverage flights, including beer, tequila, whiskey, and wine. Try the dark beer flight with Half Acre Over Ale, Dogfish Head Midas Touch, and Black Butte Porter; the Rye Whiskey flight with Bulliet Rye, FEW Rye, and Knob Creek Small Batch Rye; or the Cabernet flight with Summerland, Iconoclast, and Jordan. Bites include sambal chicken skewers, oyster tacos, cucumber kimchi, tuna crudo, and chicken wings, which is totally apropos since you can now eat wings while marveling at them in the sky!

Neighborhoods: StreetervilleStreeterville

The slick, seasonal alfresco lounge is adjacent to casual dining spot, deca RESTAURANT + BAR. Situated on the 12th floor, the 57-seat rooftop accommodates up to 100 guests for light...

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