Rooftop of Dreams

Ah, sweet home Chicago. I remember partaking in a number of great local traditions when I used to call the Windy City my backyard: Going to Buddy Guy's Legends club for a late night of tasty blues. Seeing the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day. Taking in a Chicago Cubs game in the bleachers at Wrigley Field. And sometimes imbibing in, er, watching a Cubs game from one of the nearby rooftops on Sheffield and Addison.

"Man," I've often thought, "wouldn't it be cool to put the patented S&V spin on that rooftop experience and be able to both take in a game there and watch it in high-definition at the same time?" Well, thanks to Wrigley Rooftops and the installation prowess of Davis Audio & Video, that's exactly what I got to do during the Cubs' recent run for the pennant.

The tale unfolds like this. Last fall, the owners of a pair of Wrigley Field rooftop buildings contracted Davis to install high-end entertainment systems in both locations in time for Opening Day 2008. The system at the first location (a.k.a. the Wrigley Field Rooftop Club) would be built from scratch; the one next door to it (the Sheffield Baseball Club) would be a retrofit. For the Wrigley install, according to Davis co-founder David Davis, "The owners said, 'We want the coolest, greatest rooftop system anyone's ever seen. We want as many TVs as you can fit in there, and we want something that's simple to use.' "

Adds his brother Zachary Davis, chief architect of the system design, "I drew up three scenarios: good, better, and best. They went with the best. And that's what we put in there." The idea was that not only would patrons enjoy Cubs games, but they'd be able to access both rooftop clubs year-round to enjoy events like the Stanley Cup Playoffs, March Madness, and the Super Bowl. (A third location, the Ivy League Baseball Club, is undergoing renovation and is slated to be ready in time for Opening Day 2009; S&V, of course, will be there to cover it.)

Pirate's duty: "Here's the thing about watching double plays. . ." Thomas schools the Mettler Boys on experiencing base-a-ball in high-def.

GEARING UP FOR OPENING DAY

With the architects, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters already hard at work getting the Wrigley Club up to code, the Davises had to dive in and choose TVs, stat. They went with nine Sharp Aquos 46-inch LCDs and seven Sharp Aquos 32-inch LCDs.

The 46-inchers were delegated to the main room, and the 32-inchers were split between the respective bathrooms (nope, not even the call of nature will cause you to miss a minute of the action) and the outdoor bar area that leads to the actual rooftop. (The three SunBrite 46-inch LCDs in the rooftop zone were selected before the Davises were on the job; Zachary expects to upgrade them soon.)

"We had to be mindful of both the space that the architect had spec'ed and the custom carpentry work, so the Sharps made a lot of sense," explains Zachary. "We needed to go with LCD over plasma because of how bright this room gets. And we were able to move up in size from the initial idea of 42 inches to 46 inches for the main room's screens." Adds David, "The glass bezel around those Sharps is really nice-looking, and that went especially well with the overall club design."

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