By: ERIN MICHELLE NEWBERG
Take a walk on the windy side with Chicago’s most ‘in-the-know’ hotelier.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Rafael Micha is the founder of Grupo HABITA. Having conceptualized and executed nearly ﬁfteen of the most sought-after hotels in Mexico and the USA, his portfolio includes the renowned Robey in Chicago, CondesaDf, and Escondido Oaxaca where the likes of Madonna, Kim Kardashian-West, Katy Perry, Bono, and Chris Martin, stay and are all catered to by Micha himself. He offers us a glimpse into his favorite American city, Chicago.
DRINK / The Cabana Bar at the Robey is also a must-see for delectable libations at dangerous heights! Our best cocktail is the ‘Oaxacan on Broken Glass,’ served on the rocks. A blend of Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Lemon, Angostura bitters, and Hellﬁre bitters, it is garnished with a ﬂamed Rosemary branch.
CULTURE MINUTE / As an art collector, it should come as no surprise that I visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Its current exhibit, ‘Mona Hatoum: Early Works,’ is up until late November, and it is unreal. I also love attending the annual art fair, Expo Chicago, which brings nearly 200 international exhibitors to the Navy Pier. I never miss a tour organized by the Chicago Architecture Center, which offers architects as tour guides, who give in-depth views of Mies van der Rohe’s masterpieces and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, too.
STAY / The Robey, of course. Having opened ten years ago at the landmark Northwest Tower known to locals as ‘the Coyote Building,’ it was built in 1929 in the chic Wicker Park neighborhood. We painstakingly restored it with Belgian architect Nicolas Schuybroek and furnished it with mid-century modern antiques.
BEST KEPT SECRET / The Soho House in Chicago is in the “industrial” West Loop and set in the Allis Building, a former factory built in 1908 at the Fulton Market. After a walk to the galleries and auction houses, there is nothing better than checking out the latest ﬁlm or taking a dip in the rooftop pool there.
MUSICAL OBSESSION / Lollapalooza Music & Arts Festival Live at Grant Park always brings together a gorgeous group of talent in all genres – from Lana Del Ray to Karol G. I never miss this four-day festival.
DINE / I love the Small Cheval, which is close to the Robey, or for more elegant, Au Cheval has the best cheeseburger and hamburger. I break my vegetarian diet for this. The patio overlooks the vintage signage and red brick wall and is perfect for al fresco casual dining. And be forewarned: no reservations, no open table, and no privilege! It’s ﬁrst come, ﬁrst serve.