This is a cross post of my review found on TheLocalTourist.com.
I’ve always preferred the view from the 94th floor Observatory of the John Hancock building, but being a Chicagoan, I hadn’t been there in years. That changed yesterday mostly because a lot has changed at the Observatory.
The Observatory announced that Chicago’s Highest Café, Espression by Lavazza just launched a full bar, including 8 new coffee drinks, beer, wine and assorted fine spirits. I was able to try a couple of signature drinks.
The Skyy© High cocktail (Raspberry Vodka, Blue Curaçao and Lemonade with fresh lime over ice) was my instant favorite for a couple of reasons. It was the perfect light, crisp summer drink for the beautiful summer day it was and two words. Blue Raspberry. My favorite childhood flavor. It’s priced at $11.
Then there was the drink with the placeholder name of “Lord Stanley’s Cup”, made with Maker’s Mark, Fresh Ginger, blackberries and Lemon sour. We toasted the announcement with this drink. It’s a more substantial drink, balanced without overwhelming, perfect for when you’re just not in a rush and want to soak in everything around you. It’s not on the menu yet (more on that in a bit).
The three appetizers were Assorted Savory Italian Biscuits, Baked Goat Cheese with Tomato-Basil Sauce and Charcuterie and Cheese Assortment, ranging in price from $6 for the Biscuits to $15 for two or $29 for four servings of the Assortment. The pricing was about what I expected and it was a good variety. The Baked Goat Cheese hit the spot for me, halfway inbetween the snack feel of munching on the Biscuits and the ‘pardon me while I pay attention to the Assortment so I don’t drop more than normal on myself’. But I enjoyed them all.
Then I saw this:
No, it isn’t the helm of a futuristic spaceship (though that won’t keep you from pretending it is). It’s the Hancock Observatory’s new Behold telescope, the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere (Dubai has the other installation) and the Hancock observatory has a two year exclusive agreement in Chicago. Beside the fun of the point and shoot aspect of the telescope, it has zoom and markers you can click on the screen for more information about certain areas in Chicago. The display is currently in English only, but will be expanded to include 7 languages in the near future. But that’s not the best part. Visibility isn’t the best? You want to see the night sky in the middle of the day? You’ve got it. The telescope has three views from which to choose – Day, Live and Night, so I tested it out and here are three side by side shots taken within 26 seconds of each other:
The Behold telescope costs $3 for two minutes and takes only credit cards or Hancock Observatory Gift Cards, unless the visibility is 0 – 1 miles. In that case, they cut the normal $15 admittance fee to $8 which includes the first two minutes of telescope use for free. So your second cousin from Nevada who’s only here for the most overcast weekend of the year can still enjoy the view.
And if you’re the favorite vacation destination of friends and family, the Observatory also has the Sky High Annual Pass – 365 days of unlimited entry for you…and a friend for $79 for Adults and $59 for Youth 3 – 11. so you don’t have to break your bank to show people the view.
See what I mean when I say a lot has changed? I wasn’t sure I could fit it all in this review. Oh, I almost forgot. Remember this Lord Stanley’s Cup signature cocktail I mentioned earlier?
Observatory General Manager Daniel Thomas announced a contest to give that cocktail a permanent name. You can win Blackhawks tickets among other prizes. For details on the contest follow their Twitter account at aThousandFeetUp or their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/HancockObservatory.
The John Hancock Observatory is open 365 days a year from 9:00am to 11:00pm and is located at 875 N. Michigan Ave. Tel. 312.654.5019.