In summer, reasons to linger in the Loop abound. The Plymouth Restaurant and Bar’s rooftop deck is one of them. This fourth-floor patio is the perfect place to go after tangoing at Summerdance or taking in a free concert at the Pritzker Pavilion.
Walk past the Plymouth’s down-home first-floor diner and head for the elevator. Press “R” for roof. The ride to the top is slow and stuffy, but when the doors slide open, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views in the city.
Gargantuan gargoyles, eerily lit from below, look down on the massive Harold Washington Library. The Fisher and Old Colony buildings—fine and stately examples of late-nineteenth century architecture—loom in the shadows. Shiny El trains rumble as they come and go. Workers hose the day’s dirt off State Street sidewalks. Above, jets of mist spray out from pipes on the deck’s awning, cooling the crowd of onlookers.
The best way to keep cool, though, is with one of the Plymouth’s summer cocktails—from favorites like mojitos and mai tais, to knockouts like the peachy Miami Ice, a deceptively tasty combination of vodka, rum, gin, triple sec, soda, OJ and schnapps, served in a pint glass.
With John Marshall Law School on the same block, you might catch law students sipping the Attorneytini—Southern Comfort, Absolut Vodka, Amaretto, Midori and cranberry juice. All the tenants on the second floor of the building have “Esq.” after their names, so it’s not uncommon to see smartly dressed lawyers toss their attaches on the floor and nod their heads to the house-music beat permeating the heavy, humid air.
The food is solid, reasonably priced bar fare. (The first-floor diner offers a different menu—cure a hangover with breakfast there.) Burgers, including a vegan option, start at $6.25 and come in a basket with crispy waffle fries and a pickle. The signature Plymouth burger is topped with portabella caps, roasted red peppers and a Dijon horseradish sauce. Large platters of deep-fried appetizers, including breaded shrimp and jalapeño poppers, are great for after-work outings.
Up on the roof, it’s easy to think that this is summer in the city as it’s meant to be—best enjoyed through a steamy spray mist and the fog of drink. (Elizabeth Winkowski)
The rooftop deck at the Plymouth Restaurant and Bar, 327 South Plymouth Court, (312)362-1212