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7 patio makeovers

  • Daytime hours are expected to be added at RM Champagne Salon this spring.
Daytime hours are expected to be added at RM Champagne Salon this spring.
April 23, 2013|By Lisa Arnett, @redeyeeatdrink | RedEye

Last week, you read up on 50 new patios, rooftops and sidewalk cafes debuting this season in our 2013 outdoor dining and drinking preview. To help pass the time until the warm weather sets in, here's the lowdown on seven existing outdoor spaces undergoing revamps.

Sepia
123 N. Jefferson St. 312-441-1920
In honor of its sixth anniversary in July, this West Loop restaurant is freshening up its dining room with new artwork and refreshed furniture, so it only made sense to follow suit with a revamp of its outdoor space as well, said owner Emmanuel Nony. Sidewalk seating that previously hugged the curb is being moved closer to the restaurant, and round tables will be replaced by square tables that will seat 24 diners total, up from 16. The small (and therefore easily windblown) umbrellas previously used will be switched out with larger, sturdier models, Nony said, and the entire space should be in full swing by Memorial Day weekend.

Scofflaw
3201 W. Armitage Ave. 773-252-9700
In the rush to open its outdoor seating last year at the Logan Square bar, owner Andy Gould said he and his partners opted to keep the same set-up as predecessor Streetside. This season, they're keeping the same footprint but nearly doubling the capacity to 30 people, thanks to a mix of bench seating and metal chairs.

Vertigo Sky Lounge
2 W. Erie St. 312-202-6060
The Dana Hotel's 26th floor lounge has shed its glowing orbs and faux-grass flooring for a new look featuring cushion-topped lounge seating surrounding a firepit. Another new addition is a bar with what food and beverage director Matthew McCahill calls a bartender's booth—the bar equivalent of a chef's table—serving a $50 five-course cocktail tasting menu. "You have to know the bartender to a get a seat there," he said. Vertigo is also upping its post-work potential by bumping up its weekday opening time to 4 p.m. and offering snack deals (think $2 sliders and $5 sushi) from 4 to 7 p.m. The new look is being unveiled this weekend, with the earlier opening time kicking in May 1.

RM Champagne Salon
116 N. Green St. 312-243-1199
When its picturesque courtyard patio opened last fall, this West Loop lounge cemented its status as a destination for drinking bottles of bubbly under the stars. An earlier opening time—11 a.m. daily starting mid-May—has the potential to draw an earlier crowd for day drinking or soaking up the sun over a cup of coffee.

Japonais
600 W. Chicago Ave. 312-822-9600
The riverside cabanas at this River North classic aren't going anywhere, but new seating—bar-height communal tables and traditional dining tables –will make dining on a full meal more comfortable. Changes should be complete by early May, weather permitting.

Smoke Daddy
1804 W. Division St. 773-772-6656
This Wicker Park barbecue bar's recent expansion wasn't limited to indoors; it also includes the addition of two 60-inch TVs and 30 more seats outside, including 10 at a new bar, all set to go this weekend, weather permitting.

Old Oak Tap
2109 W. Chicago Ave. 773-772-0406
During the off-season, this popular bar and eatery added a permanent roof, windows and doors to cover part of its beer garden out front. They're calling it a lanai, as they do in Hawaii, and plan to swing open the doors when the temps top 60 degrees.

lmarnett@tribune.com | @redeyeeatdrink

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