Most of the newer Chicago rooftop bars and lounges tend to scream "I am the lord of this dominion and I command all within my sight!" from the tops of their hotel heights - see The ROOF
at the Wit and C-View
at Affinia for that. The Plymouth Restaurant and Bar, just steps away from the Library Brown Line stop, has planted itself unceremoniously on the south edge of the Loop and is quite content to be a comfortable drinking spot - weather permitting - overlooking the Harold Washington Library, a parking structure and other fine South Loop architecture.
The three-story establishment has dining and drinking options on all levels, but the rooftop deck is the real draw. The reigning theme seems to be a mix of beach party and recreating a spring break sort of vibe. While going for a faux-tropical theme might not make sense from ground level, when you hit the third floor you do feel a little like you're on an island of sorts, or at least on the bridge of a large, stationary ship. The view isn't as spectacular as the loftier spaces (unless, of course, you're looking at the mural of Chicago celebrities on one wall), nor is it as arrogant. You're still above the crowds, but not so high that your fellow Chicagoans turn into scurrying ants beneath you.
Unfortunately, when you rely on a location or a view to bring the people in, sometimes establishments cruise on that. Plymouth seems to suffer from that to a certain extent - nothing on the run-of-the-mill menu (burgers, sandwiches, appetizers) really shines, but will certainly serve to soak up the drinks you're imbibing up there. The drinks (which include table-tappers!) tend to be overpriced compared to other nearby bars, but then, the view a block away at the Sky Ride Tap isn't exactly stellar.
If you choose to camp out at the bar you can keep your eyes on a couple flat screens as well, and on a sunny afternoon in the city it's a good place grab a quick drink. Tourists, local law students and Loop denizens could do far worse for a post-work beer or three as an escape from the streets below.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Karl Klockars
Plymouth Restaurant and Bar was mentioned in these articles...
Rooftop Revelry, 5/27/10
We've rounded up Chicago's rooftop decks, where you can imbibe up high.
Where the Weiss Things Are, 5/21/08
Put down the heavy brews and pick up a spring-friendly beer thatís citrusy and sweet.
The Most Inexpensive Meal of the Day, 7/23/07
Breakfast for less than $4? Instant oatmeal, pack your things. We're done.