If you’re having dinner at Commons Club and not staying at the hotel, here’s a bit of advice: Between 6–7pm, it’s pandemonium, because Virgin offers a free happy hour for hotel guests, and the fight for the dozen or so bar seats is fierce. My date and I were jammed into a tiny table next to a raucous post-work group, but when we returned later in the evening for a beer (it has Ale Syndicate, Local Option and Goose Island on draft, along with a handful of crowd-pleasing cocktails), it was much quieter.
Commons is a restaurant, bar and lounge, so there are places to work using free Wi-Fi, and a cool vibe, with a distinctive bar with booze circling the top and the “shag room,” with a ‘70s theme. The menu has slight Japanese tinges, including the fatty noodles, udon tossed with well-cooked lobster, rapini and furikake, a Japanese seasoning that includes sesame and fish flakes. Then there are flatbreads, charcuterie, pasta and a rib eye, so the menu offers the kind of broad range common to hotel restaurants. At dinner, there are snacks to start, like mashed potato tots, but while those were creamy and salty, the shrimp egg roll was just greasy. A benign shaved raw cauliflower salad included Parmesan, croutons and crispy Brussels sprouts, and tuna tartare had a nice range of textures from the crispy shallots and peanuts mixed in. It’s not the most thrilling of menus, but this is essentially a hotel lobby, and there’s a better option elsewhere in the hotel.
|Venue name:||The Commons Club|
203 N Wabash Ave
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 6:30am–11pm, Fri 6:30am–12am, Sat 7am–12am, Sun 7am–11pm|
|Transport:||El stop: Red to Lake; Brown, Green, Pink, Orange to State/Lake. Bus: 146, 148.|
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