First Look: Soho House Brings American Fare With British Flair

By Sarah Freeman  |  August 8, 2014
Credit: Nick Murway

Chicago, your Soho House has arrived. And with it comes a 40-room hotel, a rooftop pool, two restaurants, a lounge, a spa and a gym. The British import already has locations in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Toronto, and now its first Midwest location has landed in the über-trendy West Loop, nestled among equally glamorous restaurants such as Au Cheval, Nellcôte and Girl & the Goat.

The six-story building officially opens on Monday, but the various dining options make their debut tonight. No membership is required to visit the first-floor offerings — the restaurants Pizza East and Chicken Shop and The Allis lounge. The same is not true of the alfresco options at the rooftop pool; they're only open to hotel guest and House members, who are hand-selected by a board made up of influential members of the creative community — artists, musicians, photographers, etc.

Basically, you have to be very cool to get above the second floor of the neighborhood’s hottest hot spot, but the first floor is open to the common folk and filled with three delicious destinations.

113-135 N. Green St.; 312-512-8000

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    The Allis

    We couldn’t let the Londoners into town without the promise of high tea. This all-day lounge (which doubles as the hotel lobby) gets its name from the family that owned the belt factory that previously resided in the building. It's a sophisticated space with the traditional Soho House feel — velvet chairs, marble bar and a series of crystal chandeliers. During the morning, there's a menu of housemade pastries, while lunch brings salads and sandwiches. An antique fridge is filled with cold-pressed juices from Owen + Alchemy. The afternoon is reserved for tea with free WiFi and plenty of tufted leather couches to linger upon. Finally at night, the space morphs into a hip cocktail bar.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    Pizza East

    Keeping in tune with the neighborhood’s warehouse past, shelves at this casual pizza spot are packed with Italian wines and dry-cured meats hang from the exposed-concrete ceiling. The open kitchen adorned with subway tiles prepares its pies using a slow-proofed dough that's cooked in a wood-burning oven. There are 10 varieties of pizza on offer, ranging from a transitional mozzarella, tomato and basil to gourmet options like veal meatballs with prosciutto and cream sauce.

    Also coming out of the wood-burning oven are hearty entrees such as beef lasagna, salt-baked salmon and mac ‘n’ cheese. Open all day, the kitchen also serves a selection of hot, cold and fried antipasti. But what about that meat? It can be ordered individually — mortadella, coppa and bresaola are sliced in front of guests at the counter — or as part of a board with cheese. Seating options include round wood tables with mismatched chairs, leather banquettes and comfy barstools along the kitchen counter with views of the two pizza ovens.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    Chicken Shop

    A 1950s general store meets the rotisserie chicken section of your neighborhood supermarket. The menu specializes in free-range birds, served by the whole, half or quarter, from Pine Manor Farm in Indiana. Each chicken is air-chilled before being marinated overnight, steamed to lock in moisture and then cooked over a custom charcoal-heated rotisserie. It’s a lot of work, but the goal is juicy meat with a crispy skin.

    The rest of the menu melds British and American flavors. On the savory side, there's corn on the cob and coleslaw, while “puddings” — aka desserts — include the likes of apple and lemon meringue pie and chocolate brownies. The kitschy space — think ceramic chickens, bottles of housemade hot sauce and vintage cookbooks — is also open for a weekend brunch featuring options like avocado toast and corn hash. Chicken Shop also has its own bar pouring bourbon lemonade, beer and soda. The British have indeed arrived, and they brought plenty of food and booze.