CHICAGO RIVERWALK — The restaurants that opened this summer on the city's new-and-improved Riverwalk are shutting down Nov. 1, but not before a few blowout parties ... including one with free stuff.
The Hideout Riverwalk, located between State Street and Wabash Avenue at 35 E. Riverwalk South, will host a Halloween costume party and hand out free beverages and chili from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 before the Riverwalk closes for winter, co-owner Tim Tuten said. The theme will be historic "dead Chicagoans," and all are welcome to march with the bar later that day in a newly announced Halloween parade in Grant Park.
East of Columbus Drive nearby, Island Party Hut will host its own Halloween party Oct. 31 with party boats docked by the tiki bar, 355 E. Riverwalk South, owner Mark Stern said.
The parties will ring out what the new Riverwalk businesses called a successful summer after the city opened the budding Downtown tourist attraction (with help from a $100-million federal loan) in May. Two other Riverwalk vendors, City Winery and Flander's Belgian Beer & Fries, also plan to stay open through Oct. 31.
"It's been great," Stern said. "Obviously weather-driven, but people have embraced us. Not just tourists, but the neighborhood, too."
Stern, Tuten, and Mike McGrail, a Flander's manager, said their restaurants all plan to reapply for concession permits when the Riverwalk reopens next May. Michelle Woods, a project manager for the city's department of fleet and facility management, said the Riverwalk's 2016 opening date will be determined soon.
Woods said that "so far" all inaugural Riverwalk vendors have reported a successful season, but the city seeks "restaurants, bars, cultural and education programming," and recreational activities like paddling and biking for the Riverwalk's second summer. The long-term goal for the Riverwalk, which will eventually stretch from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street, is "year-round activities," she said.
The Hideout pop-up opened in August, relatively late for the Riverwalk. But Tuten said he immediately drew a following with live music on the river and a cavernous space along the Riverwalk that has since added sculptures and movie screenings.
"If you provide the space then creativity will come," Tuten said. "We think if we have six months here ... I look at it like Ravinia. But we'd be Downtown."
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