It’s t-minus “sooner than you think” until the holidays, which means it’s time to start considering your end-of-year entertaining plans.
Because let’s be honest: booking a table for anything bigger than a party of 10 is a pain in the haunches.
Which is why a wise man books private, and books early.
So we went ahead and rounded up the nine best new private dining spaces in Chicago. From hidden doors to tasting menus to an open-plan mezzanine that overlooks the cheap seats, snag ‘em before anyone else does.
Not everyone can live globe-trekking bohemian lifestyle, but at Beatnik, you can at least pretend. Chandeliers, Persian rugs and a sea of pillows invite guests to dine on pan-global dishes. The space is a total eyegasm, and the semi-private table tucked away behind a row of potted palms makes for the perfect spot to share stories of the year’s travels. BOOK HERE
Eden — the bright and airy restaurant from Paramount Events — begs to be ‘grammed, but it also offers plenty of options when it comes to throwing a shindig. Enjoy Mediterranean-inspired New American fare with a few close friends in the Sage space, which seats up to 10; or invite the whole crew to the Celadon space, which seats up to 30. Is “rooftop” a requirement? The HighGround space packs in up to 80 for a next-level cocktail party. BOOK HERE
Not only is Sepia a Michelin-starred restaurant, it makes some of the finest (and most underrated) cocktails in Chicago. Next door, you’ll find Proxi, a cool-as-a-cucumber spot serving up flame-licked dishes from Chef Andrew Zimmerman, including coal-fired oysters, fried fish-collars, and more. All of it tastes even better when enjoyed in the tucked-away private room, which seats up to 14. BOOK HERE
If you’re going for posh, you go with Katana, which is stocked with fine Japanese whiskies and boasts a head-turning design that would be right at home on the Vegas Strip. Sushi is the name of the game here, and you and your party can enjoy it all on the semi-private mezzanine overlooking the bustling restaurant below. BOOK HERE
Chicago has no shortage of great-looking restaurants, but Somerset still somehow manages to stand out from the crowd. This stunner from the Boka Group offers a veritable feast for the eyes — but don’t overlook the food. Chef Lee Wolen is cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the private dining room is concealed behind a portrait-adorned hidden door that swings open to reveal elegant digs inspired by the Kennedy-esque leisure set of the ‘60s and ‘70s. BOOK HERE
Baptiste & Bottle
Sleep on Baptiste & Bottle and you’ll wake up with one helluva backache. This elegant restaurant located inside the Conrad Hotel offers toothsome eats from James Lintelmann, bourbon-centric cocktails, and sky-perched views to boot. The private dining room seats from 12 to 20, and hey, did we mention the views? They’re great. BOOK HERE
Vibrant colors, a vaulted ceiling, immersive art. As the Museum of Contemporary Art’s in-house restaurant, Marisol sure looks the part. And with food from Lula Café chef/owner Jason Hammel, guests can expect an envelope-pushing dining experience. Book a blowout in the private dining room for your 40 closest friends, and they’ll be talking about it for months. BOOK HERE
The oldest restaurant on this list, but one of the best private dining options for big family blowouts. An alleyway-accessible entrance? Check. Overstuffed leather couches? Check. Sinatra on the speakers? Check. When you’ve got 50 people that you’re trying to impress the pants off of, Il Porcellino’s private dining room is the discerning choice. BOOK HERE
Elske, heard of it? It was our favorite opening last year, and Bon Appétit was impressed just the same. The private room here can accommodate up to 24 seated guests. The nice part is you can go full throttle with an eight-course tasting menu, or keep it chill with a three-course tasting menu that’s still tasty as hell. BOOK HERE
Main Photo: Somerset/Galdones Photography