Even though the weather has turned frosty, people still are asking to sit on the patio at Vue Rooftop.

That’s because the restaurant and bar on top of the new Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Iowa City offers a unique, well, view. Visitors enter the hotel lobby’s elevator, hit “12R” and ascend 12 stories up to the rooftop restaurant, where over a cocktail and a meal they can gaze at Iowa City spread out below.

On the patio, a gas firepit in the middle of a table offers brave late fall visitors a chance to warm up. Inside, ample seating and full windows offer a still-notable view. In the warmer weather, the doors between the dining room and the patio can fold open.

The restaurant, which opened Oct. 24, is run independently of the hotel, although both are owned by North Liberty-based Kinseth Hospitality Cos. With about 4,000 square feet of space, the restaurant has a capacity of 270 people.

“It’s supposed to be a fun, comfortable place to come up and get food and drinks,” said Mike Wilson, director of food and beverage.

At night staff members are planning regular live music, from DJs to jazz singers to instrumental quartets; they are working to partner with the University of Iowa School of Music, which has a building across the street. Other entertainment, like a Christmas movie night in partnership with independent cinema FilmScene, also is in the works.

“It’s such a unique space, we’d like to have fun things people can come up and do,” Wilson said. “During the day, it’s luncheons and relaxing, and then dinner comes, and the tempo kicks up.”

Wilson described Chef David Olson’s menu as “American eclectic,” with dishes like buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, goat cheese and artichoke flat bread and seared sea scallops. The main kitchen is open until 10 p.m. daily, with the bar open later. During bar hours, a limited small-plate menu is available. Along with wine and beer, Vue has a full slate of craft cocktails and a selection of alcohol-free “mocktails.”

Emily Ash, director of special events, said she’s enjoyed coming to work at this restaurant on top of Iowa City.

“I really just like the energy it has up here. It’s totally unique to the area,” she said. “I think it’s something we didn’t know we needed.”


WHAT: Vue Rooftop
WHERE: 328 S. Clinton St., Suite A (floor 12R of Hilton Garden Inn), Iowa City
HOURS: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday; 4 p.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday; and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Kitchen closes 10 p.m. daily. Open at 10 a.m. on Hawkeye home game days.
DETAILS: (319) 519-4650, vuerooftop-ic.com