The Windy City entered phase 4 of Illinois' reopening plan on June 26, allowing museums, fitness centers and movie theaters to welcome back patrons, and the resumption of indoor dining at restaurants with capacity restrictions. Group gatherings of up to 50 people for indoor events are now the norm, similar to what's happening around the country.
Indoor venues and meeting spaces can accommodate groups of up to 50 people or 50 percent of a venue's overall capacity, whichever number is smaller. Multiple groups are permitted to occupy the same venue, as long as the facility has space for appropriate social distancing and can limit interactions between the groups. Outdoor venues are now permitted to host up to 100 attendees per event.
Since July 2, Chicago has had an emergency travel order in place that requires travelers entering or returning to Chicago from 16 states to quarantine for 14 days.
Even with all these restrictions, there are plenty of outdoor or space-flexible venues that are able to host your next event, such as the following five.
2545 W Diversity Avenue; (312) 733-5762
In the Logan Square neighborhood, Greenhouse Loft features 3,600 square feet of customizable, indoor space. The venue features in-house A/V, livestreaming capabilities for hybrid events, on-site parking, on-site catering and bar service, HD projectors, art gallery space and a 3,500-square-foot private lawn.
All floor plans have been rejiggered with social distancing in mind. Restrictions aside, normal capacities for the venue would be 144 theater style, up to 174 for a seated-dinner with or 200 people for a cocktail reception.
1200 W 35th Street; (773) 247-3000
The Sculpture Garden is one of two event venues at the Bridgeport Art Center. The 12,000-square-foot indoor space flows out to a 6,000-square-foot garden. When restrictions are not in place, the venue hosts groups of up to 900 for receptions and 550 for a dinner. Floor-to-ceiling French doors face the garden and there is a partially covered courtyard. All spaces are lined with works by local artists.
2001 N Clark Street; (312) 742-2000
The Lincoln Park Zoo offers multiple event spaces for groups of various sizes. Currently available for private events are the Café Brauer, the Foreman Pavilion, the Farmhouse and the Peoples Gas Education Pavilion. Café Brauer features 5,300 square feet of meeting space and in "normal" times holds up to 400 attendees.
315 N LaSalle Street; (312) 822-0100
River Roast (pictured above) specializes in whole-roasted chicken and fish, and slow-roasted beef, usually carved tableside, but currently served already plated. Several nooks at the riverside restaurant that are available for groups. Among the event spaces are the conference room, which currently hosts six people; a semiprivate room for up to 18 people. Both the Murdoch and Monarch rooms, as well as Veranda East, can handle groups of up to 50 people. Otherwise, the Murdoch room hosts up to 400 reception-style, 280 seated; and the Monarch room holds up to 175 reception-style and 130 seated. More information on private events at River roast can be found here.
12 E Ohio Street; (312) 645-7760
Part of Tree Studios, a historical complex of artist's studios, the Ivy Room is currently booking both indoor and outdoor business. The event facility's white walls, large windows and open floor plan make it a blank canvas for creating customized events. Groups of up to 50 can take advantage of the venue's grand ballroom (which in another era accommodates 220 banquet-style and 375 reception-style) and the lower-level lounge. Larger groups of up to 100 can take their events outside to the courtyard, which can be set up for ceremonies, cocktail receptions or seated dinners. In addition to the Ivy Room, the Dining Room at Tree Studios is available for board dinners, breakout sessions and other gatherings of up to 30 people.
2533 W Homer Street; [email protected]
The Joinery is a raw indoor/outdoor warehouse venue with an open-air courtyard, a main gathering room with skylights, wood-beam ceilings and original brick walls. Guests dine on reclaimed wood tables, and the venue features in-house A/V and tech support, dedicated WiFi, bar service and vintage industrial antiques throughout its spaces. The two-floor venue features 2,400 square feet of meeting space in the main room and can currently host up to 100 guests. The outdoor patio can host smaller groups for a reception.