The Signature Room in the John Hancock has it’s own elevator and rarely do you have to wait in line like the tourists do to go to the observation deck. An important thing to note is that I you are going there to eat tell them and the chance of you waiting for an elevator dramatically decreases.
There are two different bars to sit if you are looking for just a cocktail. Check them both out before you decide where you want to sit. Usually, the one by the dining room is more crowded and while there will be more people to talk to, the view might not be as good. In addition people who are eating dinner usually don’t appreciate you standing in front of them to look at the view.
The Lounge is on the 96th floor and there is often live jazz here Wednesday-Saturdays so you can make it an all night event if you wish to. If you are just going to have a drink, realize that many of them are cheaper than the price of the observation deck and remember you are in Chicago. So, while a martini may be $10 how can you complain when you are 956 stories up and overlooking Chicago!
Although there is no official dress code, please be mindful of other people, especially if you are in the bar by the dining room. A lot of people come to the signature room for special occasions (anniversaries, birthdays, special events, rehearsal dinners). Therefore, they often dress to reflect this; I am not saying that you must come dressed to the nines, but make sure that your shirt is tucked in and your shoes match.
Other than that, have a great time and enjoy the view and all that Chicago has to offer.
Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
St Louis, Missouri
February 4, 2009
los angeles, California
October 16, 2007
From journal Illinois
March 24, 2005
From journal Windy City Spots
August 19, 2004
To get to the Hancock Observatory, you will pay $9.75 for adults, $7.75 for seniors 62+, $6 for kids 5 to 12, and free for kids 4 and under. To get into the Signature Room Lounge - it's FREE (with a one drink minimum).
We arrived around two on a Saturday, and found the long line to go to the Signature Room Lounge (separate elevator and waiting area than the observatory), but it only took about 20 minutes to get on the elevator. The elevator was nonstop and took less than a minute to get to the top. [Note: If you are going to eat at the Signature Room Grille, you have priority and can skip to the front of the line]
Once you are in the lounge, you are overlooking the grille below, and the view of Chicago through the windows is breathtaking.
Since it was Saturday afternoon, the lounge was fairly crowded, and we were seated in the middle, away from the windows (I saw one guy slip a waiter some cash to get a seat by the windows).
With the one drink minimum, you will need to buy a drink - a soft drink is $5, beer is $6.50, champagne is $9, and specialty martinis and drinks are $10-12. We each ordered a specialty martini, which was very yummy, but small.
With our table in the middle of the room, we could see out the windows, but only towards one side of the building - not really well enough to take any decent pictures. We got up and looked out the window, but I kind of felt I was invading other people's space.
After finishing our drinks, we decided to walk around, and found the other side of the Signature Room (through the hallway)! This is where you should go!! There was much more space with tables and a large bar in the middle. You could easily walk around, and the people were very friendly about letting you get close to the windows (which there were a lot more of - with three sides of the building to look out of). The atmosphere was much more casual and it was really sunny. Much better!
Also, the Hancock Observatory (94th floor) is only open (daily) from 9am to 11pm, whereas the Signature Room Lounge (96th floor) is open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 4pm to 12am and Friday to Sat 4pm to 1am.
From journal 48 Hours in Chicago