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Open> Lounge
Chicago's blocHaus brings sophistication to a subterranean bar.
Courtesy Ryan Cosens

The Grid
351 W. Hubbard Street
Tel: 312.321.0351
Designer: blocHaus, Nick Bowers

In the Windy City this winter you’ll be hard pressed to find someone complaining about a lack of high-end, cozy lounges in which to sip—or guzzle—away the season. It seems like one has opened every month, and one of the latest is The Grid, a new lounge below River North’s recent addition, Baume & Brix. Nick Bowers of blocHaus designed the spaces for the lounge, and restaurant, respectively, and both represent some of the best hospitality design of the year. His design, he said, “pays respect to what’s already there—a brick and timber loft—while adding layers.”

It complements the owners’ layered concept, which is one drink or several.


One look at the seating bays lining the outside wall, and you might not leave until last call. Rolled-back, leather-tufted sofas large enough for eight of your closest friends wrap themselves around floating fireplaces. And the fireplaces themselves hover over custom walnut tables. Metal grids lit from behind are installed between the seating areas and the exposed brick walls to create a cool lighting element.

The result? If you peeled away those layers, you’d have an average subterranean bar, but thanks to great design, instead you have the perfect place to consume cocktails with your well-heeled friends.

Ryan LaFollette