Signature Lounge at the 96th

20s / 20s and up / 30s / 40s / Bar / Button-downs / Conversational / Great View / Groups / High Heels / Jazz / Jeans / Laid back / Locals / Lounge / Martinis / Sandwiches / Seafood / Slacks / Smart Casual / Snack Food / Sneakers / T-shirts / Tourists / World Music / Young Professionals
Signature Lounge at the 96th Known for a view rivaling that of the Willis Tower – but without the price tag – the Signature Lounge at the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center looms over Chicago, providing a breathtaking vista for flash-happy tourists... Chicago United States 41.898947 -87.622916
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Signature Lounge at the 96th - Bar | Lounge in Chicago.
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Party Earth Review Known for a view rivaling that of the Willis Tower – but without the price tag – the Signature Lounge at the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center looms over Chicago, providing a breathtaking vista for flash... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–Th, Su 11am–12:30am, F–Sa 11am–1:30am

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Signature Lounge at the 96th Review

The Scene

Known for a view rivaling that of the Willis Tower – but without the price tag – the Signature Lounge at the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center looms over Chicago, providing a breathtaking vista for flash-happy tourists...

Known for a view rivaling that of the Willis Tower – but without the price tag – the Signature Lounge at the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center looms over Chicago, providing a breathtaking vista for flash-happy tourists by day and laid-back Chicagoans by night.

Although murals and paintings featuring a timeline of historic city events and celebrating its jazz roots take up most of the wall space, the focal point of the venue is obviously the floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides – and the multitier space has been set up to ensure that every seat has a panoramic view of the city skyline.

A black marble bar provides a sleek place for urbanites to entertain their out-of-town friends, while chatty older groups and young professionals looking to impress take over the simple wood tables and lounge seats closest to the windows, where they gather to chat, have a light snack, and sip the signature “Signature” martinis.

Low key and relaxing, Signature Lounge is a premier destination for drinks and boasts one of the most legendary views in town.

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Tip from Emma:

To the lucky gals, be sure to check out the incredible view from the women’s room – where else can you see Chicago’s skyline touching the lake shore while you powder your nose?

  • Crowd

    Young professionals, families, tourists, and locals entertaining friends, mid-20s to early 60s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Ambient world music, down-tempo, and contemporary jazz. Panoramic views. Murals, paintings, and photographs documenting historic events and themes in Chicago’s history.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Small snack menu including sandwiches, mozzarella sticks, and jumbo shrimp cocktail.

  • Prices

    Snacks $11, specialties $15, desserts $8.50. Beer $7.50–$8.25, wine $11–$14.75, mixed drinks $12–$15, shots $13.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to nice casual: jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, button-downs, slacks, dresses, some heels.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Midweek evenings for the great view without all the tourists.

  • Close By

    One flight down is the Signature Room on the 95th, a restaurant featuring the same floor-to-ceiling windows and serving contemporary American and Italian cuisine.

Signature Lounge at the 96th User Reviews

Average rating:
Jongwoo C. May 2, 2013
For your special occasions, or a special date with great night view, this is the place you can go for the romance. Make sure you have to make a reservation for the day, and they recommend you to make a reservation for your convenience, otherwise you have to wait a bit. When you sit down, you would find yourself sitting by the most gorgeous night view of the city. Despite the good views, I would give it a three star because of the qualities of food/drinks. They are hmm..okay. Funny thing about another reason for three star is that the best night view of the city is in its toilet. Trust me, at least for the lady's, your view of the whole city is unobstructed and just fascinating. So, consider expanding the dining area into that side, or at least photo moments with the doors shut :)
Mile High Club
Erica P. Feb 19, 2013
The Signature Lounge at the 96th is a great place to take visitors. What better way to showcase the windy city than from the top? When you arrive on the 96th floor, hope that you can get a table by the window because those seats will provide the best direct shots of the city while leisurely sitting and sipping on your drink. If you're a woman, you're in luck because the most breathtaking view comes directly from the women's restroom. Overall the Signature Lounge offers an elegant ambiance to take in stunning city views without the touristy noise and hustle of standing in lines with tons of people like at some other attractions. If not for the views, the drinks are pricey and the food is lacking in taste hence make this just a stop on your list and not the main event.
The Sky is the Limit
Chad C. Feb 16, 2013
Is it a special occasion? Birthday or anniversary perhaps? Or maybe it is just a Thursday night; it doesn't matter. The Signature Lounge at the 96th can accomodate any occasion on any night to satisfy that need to get out and enjoy Chicago. Take that in a literal sense because once up there, that is exactly what you see...Chicago...all of it. If it isn't enought to take in the entire city feel free to snag a drink at the bar and relax. Take in the views and try to find your favorite spots throughout the city with your friends. Relive the memories and share the laughs. It's not everyday that you get to chill 96 stories above one of the greatest cities in the US.
Always a pleasure
Keyton K. Feb 13, 2013
There are some spots in Chicago that are a must and The Signature Lounge on the 96th is on of those spots. For years I have gone there to get away and relax with friends over cocktails and to enjoy the view of the city. It is a magical place. It is a place where you forget your troubles and just enjoy the atmosphere.
One of the perks on my trip for sure
Amster M. Nov 19, 2012
There are some things when visiting the city as a tourist that you just have to suck up the price and pay, because it’s a once in a lifetime chance, worth it in the end, and you can check it off your list. This spot is one of them. Even the bathrooms have killer views. I went at night and the sprawl of suburban Chicago lights made for one of the best pics I’ve taken. Just drink slowly, soak it in, and order a cocktail that has a plastic stirrer – the little icon of the building makes a good souvenir (and free!). I still have mine.
Definitely worth the trip for a great view
kate o. Sep 19, 2012
Worth the trip and something I tell all my touristy friends to go there because it is the best view of the city. Go at night so you can see all the lights of the city. Plan to get a cocktail and either an appetizer or a dessert. Don't bother staying for dinner. I was taken here as part of a great date night by my boyfriend, now husband, as part of a staycation in downtown Chicago. It is easy to get to and we didn't have to wait for a table since we chose to sit one aisle in from the window. I got a martini, he got a white russian and both were delicious. Drinks are a little expensive but for downtown Chicago at a fancy place you would pay the same and be 95 floors lower down. Worth it for the view!
Great view, romantic, but apart from the vistas you should't expect much
Jayson M. Aug 22, 2012
The view really is stunning. Rivals what you see at Willis without the mad crowds. Almost takes the sting out of the $14 cocktails. But hey, at least there are cocktails. Take a date, take the fam, take friends from out of town. It ain’t your go to spot if you live here, but it’s great for something special that doesn’t require a lot of planning. Technically I think you are required to buy some food or a drink while you are here but I rarely do and have never had any issues. Random tour groups can flood in at equally random intervals, but it rarely gets too crowed. Your mom will love it.
Great place to bring visitors, forget the Observatory
Chris M. Aug 2, 2012
The Signature Lounge is the place to take out of town visitors and is always on my list after an architectural boat tour and before some deep dish pizza at Uno. Forget paying money to go up the Willis (nee Sears) Tower or to go to the Hancock Observatory. Why pay $20 to go to the 94th floor when you can pay $14 for a drink on the 96th and get the view for free. Yes the drinks are excessively priced, but the sidecar is very good. The key is to get a table right by or one row away from the window. It is worth letting a few people go ahead of you in line, if possible, and waiting for the prime seating. Act like you intend on purchasing a few drinks and they will be more willing to accommodate this behavior. It helps to not dress like a Midwestern tourist to pull this off. Bring your camera but try not to be too annoying about it. I am torn between recommending a daytime or nighttime visit. The views for both are spectacular but I would lean towards daytime. Go before sunset and have a few rounds to try to see both if you really want, but that can get real expensive real quick. I’m also torn between recommending which side to sit on, but the lake views reserved for the restaurant are overrated anyway, the lake gets boring after a while. The views to the South, West, and North are all just as good. To the South you see Soldier Field, Museum Campus, Grant Park, and the Sears Tower. To the North you see Lincoln Park, beaches, and a lot of boats. To the West you see the heart of the city and the river. The views never get old.
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