Okay, I’ll admit it, after three visits inside and innumerable strolls past the building, I am still having at difficult time nailing down exactly how to explain Chicago’s Restoration Hardware.
The Windy City’s branch of the California-based company’s high home furnishings store takes up all four floors — and the roof – of the 100-year-old former residence hall for young female artists. It is the only RH — there are 86 galleries and outlets nationwide — that has a restaurant and visitors are welcome to wander throughout displays of bedrooms, bath areas, living rooms, dining rooms and modern furniture sipping wine or beer.
On warm evenings, there may be no better place to relax and soak up the view than RH’s rooftop garden.
Even better? It’s dog-friendly.
So much so that the very friendly valet’s out front keep a stash of doggy treats for all passing pups, and make sure to have tiny, Chihuahua-appropriate goodies for Chiclet’s buddy Lil Bean, who has become somewhat of a celebrity at the place, not to mention a favorite among the staff there.
Bean and her person Julie took Chiclet and I into RH several times while we were in Chicago visiting them recently and it quickly became one of our favorite destinations.
After spending a few minutes with those wonderful valets, in we’d go and head straight to the 3 Arts Club Pantry & Espresso Bar where we could select from a small, but impressive list of international wines and craft beer. From there, we could head out to the galleries on the floors above. The Pantry & Espresso Bar also offers coffees, juices, sodas and fresh-baked pastries. The wines there are not exactly inexpensive — I paid $14 for a glass of very, very good Malbec. But they are in line with prices of table wines at most other area restaurants. The beer averages around $6 a bottle.
On the bed & bath level Chiclet had a wonderful time trying out the different beds as a sort of small, bewhiskered Goldilocks.
In the living space gallery we came across two students sitting on one of the couches, sipping coffee, surrounded by books and their laptops set on a table in front of them.
“It beats studying in Starbucks,” one of them said.
Back on the first level we retired to the 3 Arts Wine Club & Tasting Room featuring gold vaulted ceilings and the original brick floors. All four of us could just relax on leather sofas and soak up the atmosphere.
Well, Julie and I relaxed.
Chiclet spent a great deal of time exploring her immediate surroundings, casting longing eyes at a nearby indoor fountain.
But it’s Lil Bean who really shines in the Wine Vault. The tiniest social butterfly ever, she charmed staff and patrons alike with her dancing antics as just about everyone who saw her pulled out smartphones to snap photos. I can only imagine on how many social media pages this former shelter dog now appears.
We didn’t get the chance to try the 3 Arts Club Cafe adjacent to the Wine Vault, but according to the website, it offers a “menu inspired by Northern California and Mediterranean cuisine featuring seasonal, ingredient-driven dishes. Guests may choose to dine in the Grand Courtyard, a light-filled, all-season oasis featuring a restored historic fountain and Heritage olive trees, or anywhere else in the gallery.”
Yeah, I’ll be checking that out next time we’re in Chicago. And maybe with a little more on site research, I can figure out exactly how to categorize RH Chicago – Eatery? Bar? Furniture gallery? Does it even matter?
In all honesty, when it’s that good and dog-friendly, I’m not sure it does.
Restoration Hardware Chicago is located at 1300 N. Dearborn Parkway, Chicago, IL 60610. It’s open Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Valet parking available. (312) 475-9116 or online at www.3artsclubcafe.com