Venue Spotlight: University Club of Chicago
Written by Curator, Kate of Kate Johnson Artistry:
“After 10 years of being in Chicago’s Wedding industry I have come to know that around what seems like every random street corner you can find pure magic.
I thought I knew everything about the history of the old bones of Chicago, salacious stories of hidden passage ways, ghosts of gangsters and architects alike. But little did I know, that the space my company and I are hired at the most, holds hidden magic that many have no idea is even there!
Do you remember those books where depending on your choice you flipped pages and created your own adventure? Changing the experience and the ending a million different ways? Well that’s the best way I can explain what happened when Nicole and I spent an afternoon, discovering the adventures that awaited us …….. Welcome to The University Club of Chicago.
Confused? Yeah, I get that. If you’re not a member or have never had a reason to go exploring, you might know it as “That neo gothic building with a green awning and friendly valet on the corner of Monroe and Michigan”. If you’ve ventured into the lobby you know there is gorgeous rich wood paneling, elegant furniture and a staircase as grand as is in an old Hollywood movie. But that’s where this adventure is just beginning.
There is a whole world inside this club that has 59 guest rooms and affiliate clubs all around the world. Taking a tour with Lindsey Jordan (Director of Communications) and Jill Quinn (Associate Director of Catering) We learned that this club can bring any event…. with any theme…. To life!
Let’s start with the renovation of the restaurant that we met the ladies at for lunch. First thing you notice when walking though the grand double doors is the décor is bold and rich with jewel tones. Dark wood accents and floor to ceiling windows with modern yet comfortable furniture were not only beautiful but inviting. We started with French onion soup that was likely the best I’ve had in years. I followed with a delicious salmon and salad that was mouthwatering. The new menu and comfortable but elegant dining created an easy flow of conversation perfect for a dinner party or rehearsal dinner.
As we finished we were taken to a hidden room not quite open to the public at the time. The space, as it turns out, is a hidden speakeasy, that can be entered through the courtyard of the restaurant on the other side of the glass walled private dining room. Furnished with green leather high back chairs are just steps away from the city skyline view.
From lunch, we were shown into the event rooms that made me understand why events at The University Club create a unique experience for each guest. And let me tell you… there are so many experiences to choose from!
I’m going to go over a couple of my favorites and hope to entice you to take your own tour and see what adventure you will take your guests on.
The library. Yes, it’s an actual working library. Thousands of books many leather bound in picturesque rows creating a sea of rich colors in the dark stained wood shelves. Open concept with leather couches and big windows is where many of their couples go for their cocktail hour. Whether you are obsessed with literary works, love the feeling of an Ivy league library, or just want something comfortable to start the party while having an incredible view of the city…. This is the room to start with
From there let’s take you to Notre Dame, Westminster Cathedral …. Or the halls of Hogwarts? Well “Cathedral Hall” was really inspired by Crosby Hall in London. The medieval mansion was built in 1483 for the Duke of Gloucester and is the setting for a scene in Shakespeare’s Richard II. But that aside this stained-glass windowed room will wow any of your guests. You feel as though your entering into another world near the gigantic wall clock and the massive stone fireplace on each end.
Would you like an incredible view of the lake? Then be awestruck by the beauty of the “Gallery” This room is perfect for showers, cocktail hours or the next mornings brunch. When we walked in I thought I was back home in Southern California. Arched French doors, open up to a balcony giving you wide views of the lake and city. Natural light streams in and gives a warm intimate feeling. Rotating works of modern art line the walls in this “L” shaped room tucked away from the rest of the club.
So where does that bridal party get to spend the morning prepping for the big day? Well, we mobile beauty and barbering companies come to the 6th floor barbershop and down the hall in a “ready room” that has beautiful natural light near a big window. Here tables and barstools, full length mirrors and a buffet table full stocked to serve your ladies breakfast, lunch or just snacks, are comfortably down the hall from the suites you are in the night before.
So what have I left out? Some of the best rooms! The Michigan Room, The Billiard Room, The Living Room and so much more. But, I leave you here to go explore! Create an experience custom fit for you and your fiancée that leaves your guests talking about the big day for years to come.