In this trip report, I review the first Polaris Lounge at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). I review the food, including the full menu, drinks, layout, and overall offering.
The main lounge area is spacious with various seating types, including open cubicles, a long bench table along the wall with chairs, comfy sofa chairs ideal for couples, and cafe chairs. Decor a classy mix of creams and browns. Possibly the most noteworthy thing about this lounge is the views from the club. They are wonderful, as if you are sitting by the gate and right next to the plane.
Food & Drink
There is plenty of bread, salads, and cold meats and cheeses in the buffet. The hot food is on the center island and is laid out in mini pans, which is cute, although the food in the pans is not very appetizing to look at. These pans’ content is meat and potato mixes or fish with veg (mange tout and carrots) and some pie dishes. All tastier than it looks.
You can request cocktails made up by a mixologist ranging from the Manhattan to some more unusual ones like a Smokey Negroni (a citrus Campari mix). There are loads of wines, spirits, and soft drinks; everything you could wish for.
United Polaris Lounge Chicago Lunch and Dinner Menu
Much like the American Airlines Flagship lounge, you can now enjoy a sit-down, serve to your table menu at the United Polaris Lounge Chicago. The Lunch and Dinner menu is served from 11:00 am – 8:30 pm, and it is very, very good.
- American wagu beef carpaccio
- Fontina-filled arancini
- Charred carrot and apple soup
- Roasted beet
- Seared tuna
- Blue Door Kitchen burger (beef)
- Buttermilk fried chicken
- Buttermilk fried chicken
- Seared rib-eye
- Shrimp and grits
- Sweet potato gnudi
- Decadence by chocolate (dark chic brownie truffle, milk choc panna cotta, white chic bark with dried cherry pistachio, creme chantilly)
- Ice cream (variety of flavors)
- Pear and cranberry cobbler
United Polaris Lounge Chicago Breakfast Menu
This menu is served from 7:15 – 11:00 am.
- From The Bakery
- Bagel basket
- Bakery basket
- Chilled offerings
- Charcuterie and artisanal cheese selection
- Fresh seasonal fruits
- Petite breakfast parfait
- Smoked fish platter
- Warm offerings
- Belgian waffle (with market berries)
- Eggs benedict
- Eggs Florentine
- Magnificent Mile breakfast (2 eggs, roasted fingerling potatoes, asparagus, tomato)
- Panettone french toast
- Smoked salmon and potato larkes
- Super green egg-white frittata
- Three egg omelet
- Grilled ham
- Handmade pork sausage
- Roasted asparagus and tomato
- Roasted fingerling potatoes
- Thick applewood smoked bacon
If you have lunch or dinner in the lounge and are hungry, go for the sandwiches, which are like big burger offerings and are served with chips. These will fill you up. The other choices on the menu tend to be pretty to look at, tasty, but on the small side, so if you are in need of much sustenance, you may have to double up on your order to fill your tummy! From start to finish, a 3-course menu will take around an hour. If you need a speedier service, then consider ordering just 2 dishes.
This lounge is in Chicago, America, and being a Brit, I was concerned about leaving tips… I didn’t see anyone leaving cash tips or trying to swipe a credit card to leave a tip. Even the generous Americans did not seem to be leaving tips, so, as a general rule, in this lounge (and other United Polaris Lounges), tips do not seem to be required unless you feel the service is exceptional.
There are some classy shower-bathrooms and four sleep rooms, which are private rooms with beds in for a snooze between flights.
How do I access United Polaris Lounges
You can only get into a Polaris Lounge if you are traveling business- or first-class flying United Polaris or on Star Alliance partners. Club memberships, Priority Passes, American Express Centurian Cards, and elite status won’t get you in. United Club members, Star Alliance Gold Members, and Global Services members can only get in if they’re flying business or first class.
Newark, San Francisco Dulles, and Los Angeles Polaris lounges will also open in 2017. United is planning a total of nine Polaris Lounges around the world, including Hong Kong, London, and Tokyo.
You may also be interested in my review of United vs. Delta vs. American Airlines: Which Has The Best Business Class, my top 10 Best Business Class airlines for long-haul travel and the best airlines to travel to Europe in Business Class.