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Cherry Circle Room

Restaurants, Contemporary American Loop
5 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
Cameo Kirby Cocktail in the Cherry Circle Room at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel.
Photograph: Martha Williams Cameo Kirby Cocktail in the Cherry Circle Room at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel.

Tucked behind the Game Room in the Chicago Athletic Association, Cherry Circle Room used to be where club members refueled. Now that it’s open to everyone, chef Peter Coenen turns out gorgeous dishes like shrimp cocktail with a delightful Bloody Mary-spiced cocktail sauce and a generous pâté board. A roving cocktail cart serves drinks tableside and ice cream drinks, like a grasshopper served in a milk jar, cap off the meal.


Venue name: Cherry Circle Room
Address: Chicago Athletic Association
12 S Michigan Ave
Opening hours: 7am-12am, daily
Transport: El stop: Red to Monroe. Brown, Purple, Pink, Green, Orange to Adams-Wabash. Bus: 20, 56, 60, 66, 124, 157, J14.
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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moderatorStaff Writer

Cherry Circle Room was the last spot at the Chicago Athletic Association that I checked out and I immediately regretted not getting there sooner. You'll have a great meal with attentive service and tasty cocktails in this beautiful room. And the best part, like any spot at CAA, is that you don't even have to leave the building to go somewhere else for a nightcap.

Cherry Circle Room is truly a phenomenal dining spot. Hidden behind the Game Room on the second floor at CAA this fine dining location makes for an amazing & fun experience. The food is stellar & beautifully presented & the service is incredibly warm, inviting, and attentive. Like most of the other properties from the Land & Sea Dept. CCR has an attention for detail that is incredibly well executed. The drinks are fantastic & well crafted. Definitely a must try.

It is always a warm and welcoming place, for a cocktail or snack, or a full decadent meal. The hospitality and quality of food and drink is the best anywhere downtown. And the wine list is a mile long, yet they will help you find the right choice.

The Cherry Circle Room is, like most other ventures from this group, all about style. The room is beautiful - every detail has been considered, evaluated, and chosen, and it earned them a James Beard award for design. The drinks are very well made, as is nearly everything Paul McGee does, and the service is thoughtful and pleasant. The food, however, needs work. 

After an extremely pleasant beef tartare made with a slightly salsa verde, a raw quail egg and smoked gouda, the grilled octopus was puzzling. Marinated, braised for 6 hours then grilled, the octopus is cooked perfectly but the accoutrements (a marcona almond romesco, kalamata olives and chorizo vinaigrette) seemed to fight each other. There was very little balance, and the octopus, which should have been the star of the dish, was left in the background as you tried to figure out what everything else was.

The Caesar salad with fried smelt was crisp and fresh, but there was an overabundance of salt and a lack of dressing which left you with the same questions about balance. The duck entree was another dish that sounded better on the menu than it was on the plate. Duck four ways - pickled duck tongue (tasted and had the texture of sour figs), duck pate tortellini (underdone and doughy), duck sausage (the star of the dish) and duck breast (chewy, undercooked, skin was not crisp) that just did not live up to expectations. Fortunately, the creme brulee was well made and delicious, with ground pistachios and strawberries, which, along with their house amaro left a pleasant taste after the disappointment of the savory dishes.

I would tell someone to go to CCR to experience the room and ambiance, and for drinks and dessert. If they're hungry get the beef tartare, but if you're looking for a more pleasant Chicago dining experience, it can be found elsewhere.


This place is the perfect fit for Chicago Athletic Assoc. Located on the second floor, past the lobby, through the game room and you arrived at CCR. This James Beard winning restaurant gives you that old time supper club feel. To start, the table side cocktails are amazing and a great show piece. The watermelon carpaccio and poached langoustines are great starters but the French onion soup is the best I've ever had, please get it. The leg of lamb is carved at table and will leave you in a food coma in one of the giant booths. Great place to celebrate a great event or unwind after a long day.


Congratulations to Cherry Circle Room for winning Outstanding Restaurant Design at the James Beard Awards! This is a truly beautiful restaurant that is created with the utmost care for the diner experience. Cozy leather booths, carpeting, and dim lighting create an intimate "Mad Men" vibe. Their cocktails are spectacular - I chose the Cameo Kirby which is a light gin-based drink with vermouth, raspberry, and egg white. The food is a new take on classic American fine dining fare (think roasted duck with elderflower) and the servers are gracious and knowledgable. Loved the experience of traveling through the beautiful Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and the game room to this tucked away gem - a well deserved win!