Eater Chicago | Naomi Waxman | May 3, 2019
Offshore will bring an adult cocktail lounge to the kid-friendly tourist attraction
Family-friendly tourist attraction Navy Pier is getting a grownup cocktail lounge with a massive rooftop space. Offshore, a bar that management claims is the largest rooftop deck in the country, is slated to open late this month. The 36,000 square-foot bar and lounge is located on the third floor of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall at 1000 E. Grand Avenue.
Offshore’s space includes an 8,500 square-foot indoor area, a 60-foot bar that seats 100, and outdoor space for lawn games, seven fire pits, and seating for groups to drink and socialize, according to a news release. Retractable glass walls seal off the entire space from the elements and can be opened to let in the summer breezes that will hopefully arrive in the coming months. It’s more bar than restaurant and won’t serve full-service dinners, general manager and partner Bob Amick told the Chicago Tribune, but customers can expect modern American shared plates from chef Michael Shrader (Monnie Burke’s, Epic, Urban Union).
The real focus is on seasonal drinks developed by Clay Livingston, formerly of Red Herring Lounge and Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky. These include a “lychee-style” cocktail and a fruity drink served in a bag. Wine, champagne, and local beers will also be available.
The Atlanta-based group behind Offshore is no stranger to rooftop spots. It opened VU Rooftop Bar, now one of the hottest drinking spots in Chicago, in the South Loop last year. A rooftop bar at Navy Pier was first reported in 2016, and Offshore is from the same group that is developing a Navy Pier hotel and restaurant slated for a spring or summer 2020 opening.
Navy Pier’s dining options tend to veer toward family spots rather than adult restaurants and bars, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Dippin’ Dots, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar & Grill. Adults at Navy Pier can currently grab alcoholic beverages at cocktail bar Tiny Tavern, the Miller Lite Beer Garden, and a number of chain restaurants, but Offshore will be the largest drinking spot by far at the popular tourist attraction.