Friendly heads up so that you're not caught off guard thinking you are being bombed this weekend: Chicago's annual Air and Water show takes place August 16 and 17 all along the lakefront and all over the skies. It's pretty impossible to avoid the show no matter where you are, but if you've got a prime perch during the extravaganza, you'll be poised for summery success. Because nothing says "summer in Chicago" like al fresco dining and fighter jets. Here's where to dine and drink with a view this weekend:
(Drink in the view at THE dec)
THE dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar
: When watching the Air and Water show, it's vital to do so from a chic standpoint with unparalleled views. THE dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago is the answer. The skyscraping Streeterville bar is comfortable, sexy, and delicious, with delicious views of the show to match. You'd be hard-pressed to find a setting with food and cocktails as pristine as this place, which of course makes the nautical and aviation eye candy in front of you that much better.
The Signature Room: Go even higher at The Signature Room, getting you 95 floors in the air and essentially right on par with all the plane action outside. The restaurant is hosting a special Chicago Air & Water Show viewing party from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. This high-flying fete includes picture-perfect seating, a buffet, and a lavish bar package brimming with craft cocktails. Tickets cost $130 per person and can be purchased by calling 312-280-0465.
Castaways Bar & Grill: When it comes to water-side dining and drinking, you can't get any closer to the action than Castaways Bar & Grill. The North Avenue beach mainstay is the ideal setting for all your lakeside lounging this weekend. The bar and restaurant is offering two different viewing packages for Friday (practice day) and Sunday. For $120 per person, guests can partake in a breakfast and lunch buffet and open bar from 9:00 a.m. until show's conclusion. During the main event Sunday, tickets cost $175 per person. Good for 9:00 a.m. until day's end, said tickets earn a breakfast and lunch buffet and open bar as well. Snag your tix by emailing Andrea Frankos at email@example.com.
The Landshark Beer Garden
: If you're looking to get so close to the action you actually feel like you're driving the boats yourself, head to Landshark Beer Garden at Navy Pier's terminus. This is as far east into the lake you can get without swimming. So clearly it's prime seating for Air & Water viewing, especially given that the bar is home to LandShark Lager, frozen cocktails, other beers, and classic American snacks such as burgers and brats. In case the show in front of you isn't enough, Landshark will also be hosting live entertainment throughout the weekend, including Wall of Denial on August 16 and Funky Monks on August 17.
- Matt Kirouac