City Winery on the Chicago Riverwalk is set to close for winter on Sunday, a move that largely sends the downtown attraction into hibernation till next summer.
Other Riverwalk restaurants such as O’Brien’s and Tiny Tapp had already closed up shop Tuesday afternoon, signaling that the 2017 Riverwalk season is drawing to a close.
City Hall has eyed the Downtown riverfront as a new hotspot rivaling the beaches of Lake Michigan since it borrowed $100 million from the federal government four years ago to spruce up the south bank of the Chicago River between Franklin Street and Lake Shore Drive.
The new-and-improved Riverwalk debuted in 2015, with new stretches opening up each summer since. The Riverwalk has incrementally become more of a year-round destination too, this season being capped by an Oktoberfest with fireworks shows last month.
City Winery, whose Riverwalk outpost often outsells its flagship restaurant in the West Loop, has twice extended its season by putting up heated “river domes” that can be reserved for private parties.
City Hall hope to eventually extend the Riverwalk as far south as Chinatown, and many big new developments planned downtown include public riverwalks after negotiations with city officials.
The Riverwalk hasn’t been without hiccups, however. Torrential rains last month flooded most of the Riverwalk last month, forcing many of its restaurants to temporarily close. A spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said then that flooding isn’t unexpected, and that the city is “is prepared to address these events as necessary.”