Windy City Soirée

Between test drives along the Chicago River, guests mixed and mingled at the soaring Trump Tower.

Chicago certainly knows how to party. This August, an intimate group of Sea Ray owners and guests gathered at the Windy City’s striking Trump International Hotel and Tower—the second tallest building not only in Chicago but in all of the Western Hemisphere—for a memorable cocktail reception. But this was no typical happy hour. Among the highest highlights of the evening were the opportunities to test out two of today’s sleekest modes of transportation: a gleaming 540 Sundancer, and two purring Aston Martin Rapide S models.

Aston Martin test drives, Sundancer cruises and delicious fare made for an unforgettable night on the town.

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Situated on a central bend in the Chicago River, just west of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the Trump Tower was an ideal location for the group to chat and say cheers. The party took place at Rebar, a sophisticated lounge on the mezzanine level that offered clear views of the water and of each group to embark on a lap in the Sundancer.

And from their on-water vantage, boaters enjoying time on the 540 Sundancer could peer up at the Trump building’s illustrious neighbors, including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and, in the near distance, Lake Michigan. (On any list of cool places to test out a Sea Ray, the Chicago River certainly ranks highly.) The elegant Sundancer offered myriad places for guests to settle in and enjoy the ride, from the social helm area to the airy salon and inviting cockpit.

Midway through the eve, Executive Chef Thomas Lents and Sommelier Dan Pilkey of Sixteen (Rebar’s two-star Michelin-Rated sister restaurant) stopped by to visit with partygoers and see that the lavish hors d’oeuvres and wine offerings were being thoroughly enjoyed. Aurelie Baetche of Thiénot Champagne was there to pour glasses of acclaimed Thiénot Brut and Brut Rosé.

Representatives from Skipper Bud’s—the local Sea Ray dealership that kindly lent the 540 Sundancer for the night—were also present to answer questions and highlight the yacht’s many amenities. Down on ground level, the two Aston Martins welcomed guests who wanted to sneak away for a quick joyride of a different flavor. All agreed the performance was impressive, even at city-street speeds.

As the sun dipped behind the distant EL tracks, the last Sea Ray cruise of the evening wrapped up and everyone returned to the party, eager to sample another round of delicious fare and toast to the perfect confluence of land, sea and sky.

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