Boleo Rooftop Bar Review – Travel to South America This Summer

Located on the 15th floor of The Kimpton Gray Hotel, Boleo welcomed guests back for vibrant South American cuisine and city views beginning June 24, 2020. Boleo brings the dramatic flavors and sultry beats of South America to the best open-air, year round rooftop in the Loop. Under a massive retractable glass roof, guests can enjoy small bites and delicious cocktails that provide a feeling of being in Peru, rain or shine.

Boleo Rooftop at Kimpton Gray Hotel
Entrance to Boleo Rooftop

“We’re excited to welcome back diners to one of the best rooftops Chicago has to offer,” offers The Kimpton Gray Hotel General Manager Nabil Moubayed. “The health and safety of our guests and staff is always our top priority. We have also taken the time to ensure everyone’s comfort so we may provide a much-needed place to gather again.” 

Chicago skyline view from Boleo rooftop
Boleo rooftop bar

Curated by Chef de Cuisine Brian Millman, Boleo offers small plates and bites such as Ceviche de Meagre, Pollo A La Brasa, Arroz Chaufa, and more. Signature cocktails from Head Bartender Sam Garcia immediately transport guests away. The menu includes inventive drinks such as Boleo’s Spicy Margarita, Frozen Aperol Spritz, Spanish Style Spirit & Tonic, and more. 

Specialty cocktails at Boleo Rooftop

Encompassing more than 4,000 square feet, Boleo opens up to a lively 165 seated bar and dining area, as well as Esperanza, the rooftop’s private dining room—all of which are housed under a massive open-air, retractable glass roof allowing guests to enjoy the rooftop feeling year-round. Boleo is located in the Chicago Loop’s Financial District at the Kimpton Gray Hotel (122 W. Monroe Street). 

Dining on the Boleo rooftop gave my guest and I a wonderful experience, relaxing, yet, upbeat vibe before we even sat down. It is an enclosed rooftop with a retractable roof covering, but we had an amazing view of the Willis Tower and Stock Exchange building. As the sun went down and it grew darker outside, the Boleo transformed into a beautifully lit sanctuary with hanging vines, ferns and sultry, vibrant colored lights. 

Boleo rooftop at night

Jessie, our server, was fantastic. He was always smiling, welcoming, friendly and upbeat, while also giving us excellent recommendations from the menu.

We took in the chic design of the rooftop while listening to South American music. The ambiance was perfect, and the lighting and view of the sky and buildings complimented the overall upscale experience.

Paperless menu
Spanish Style Spirit and Tonic

The drink selection at Boleo is a amazing variety of thirst quenching and gorgeous-looking inventions such as our selections of Spanish Style Spirit and Tonic (gin with papaya and lime (or) singani with basil and orange), the Spicy Margarita (habanero infused tequila blanco, dry curacao, lime, simple syrup, tajin) and the bright berry colored Calpirinha (Cachaca, cane sugar, muddled lime).

Ceviche de Meagre
Chifle and Papas
Hongos Skewers

Being the carnivore of the two, my guest dove right into the beautifully-assembled Ceviche de Meagre (salsa criolla, choclo, rocoto leche de tigre, chulpe), consisting of freshly caught fish. I really enjoyed the vibrant colors of the Chifle and Papas (plantain chips, purple potato chips, aji mirasol). They were crunchy, nicely salted and highly addictive. One of our favorite dishes was the Hongos (trumpet mushrooms, yuzu kosho aioli, aji Marisol furikake), which offered our palates amazing flavors and aromas, which were pleasurable eating from skewers. My guest particularly liked the citrus, garlic notes of the aioli. Another delicious side dish I adored was the Empanada Vegetariana (kale, provolone, crimini, romesco), which was perfectly held together by a buttery, crust dough shell. The Yaquita (crispy yucca fries, rocoto aioli) were a delectable finger food and a healthier alternative to regular French fries.

Empanada Vegetariana
Crispy yucca fries
Salted caramel alfajores

The grand finale to our wonderful meal was the salted caramel alfajores, a traditional South American confection. The creamy salted caramel sauce was sandwiched between two soft cake-like cookies and dusted with powdered sugar. Alfajores are one of my favorite cultural desserts and guilty pleasures.

After our meal, we became acquainted with Boleo’s executive chef, Brian Millman, an extremely talented chef (over 20 years experience) from the Chicago suburb of Northbrook. He was very friendly and down to earth, and I could tell instantly how passionate he is about food and the culinary arts. 

After our meal, I took in one final look at the beautiful view of the Chicago buildings, and the starry night on the Boleo rooftop, before leaving. As we stepped into the elevator to return to the first floor of the Kimpton Gray Hotel, I realized what a worthy and enduring gem of a dining experience Boleo actually is. Do not miss this amazing culinary experience for all the senses! 

Photos: Jennifer Lunz

For more information, please visit the website or call (312) 750-9007. 

*Please click this link to view Boleo’s approach to clean.

Reservations are highly recommended and are available for groups up to six for up to two hours. Starting June 26, parties for groups of up to 10 will be accepted. Boleo is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m to 10:00 p.m. Reservations can be made on OpenTable and a limited number of walk-ins will be accepted nightly. Diners are required to wear their masks at all times except when seated at their table. 

Takeout and delivery will also be available by calling 312-750-9007. Cocktails will be available in to-go format within the next coming weeks. Forget the 15-hour flight, all it takes to get to Boleo is a 15-story elevator ride to the top of The Kimpton Gray Hotel.

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