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Nov 16, 2011 06:15 PM

Alinea reservation

Hey all,

I'm a Chicago hound who loves to visit Chicago.

Whats the latest on getting reservations for Alinea. Do they still only book 3 months out?

Am planning a trip in the spring and want to make sure I know what day I need to mark on my calendar to get reservations.



1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

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  1. On the first of the month they take reservations for two months down the road. For example on December 1st they take reservations for all of February. Reservations open at 10:00am on the first of the month (central time) and can only be made via phone: 312.867.0110. If the first falls on a Sunday, I believe they do the second of the month instead. You are likely to receive a busy signal for a while on the first, but if you are persistent you should eventually get through and be able to score a reservation.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gonzo70

      Hey guys, just checking that this information is still correct as of July 2012?

      1. re: Andrea_

        No. They're transitioning to a ticketing system "any day now." This will require prepayment at the time the reservation is made, shifting the financial burden of last-minute cancellation to the customer.

        1. re: Andrea_

          We are, at this time, fully reserved through the end of July. We do receive cancellations, so please feel free to phone or email to be added to the waitlist for a specific date
          As of today, July 12, we have continued to postpone release of August and September reservations. The online booking system is in final testing and will be ready to launch any day now, details will be posted here. We apologize for the ongoing inconvenience.
          Please note that Alinea will be closed for a summer break in mid-August, there will be no service from the 15th through the 19th. Our usual Wednesday through Sunday schedule will apply to the rest of the month.

          Alinea's Reservation System To Be Replaced With Next-Style E-Tickets, Grant Achatz Says

      2. The new system is up and August is going fast.

        16 Replies
        1. re: rlh

          It seems like tickets are sold out. Is anyone reselling tickets? I'm looking for something in early September.

          1. re: slynkie

            Only August tickets were sold. Nick suggested September through December will go on sale in about two weeks. Watch the Alinea Facebook page and the Twitter for updates.

            1. re: slynkie

              The first round of tickets were for August only. September-December sales will be announced soon, check their Facebook page or Twitter feed.

              1. re: ferret

                Thanks for the info. I'm still not sure I'll be able to get tickets next time since all the August tickets sold out in just one night. Do you guys know of any reputable places to buy resale tickets? Also, how much is the premium for resale tickets?

                1. re: slynkie

                  Oh wow, I just saw on the facebook page. People are reselling the tickets on craigslist already for like $1500!! I guess I'm not going to be able to go anymore. Do you guys know of any cheaper restaurants that are somewhat comparable to Alinea that still have availability for September?

                  1. re: slynkie

                    If you are not able to purchase tickets directly from Alinea, the best place to purchase them is from their Facebook page - people will post there when they have availability. Do not pay more than face value plus the $10 transfer fee; if Nick finds out tickets are "scalped" (i.e. sold at a higher price), he may void them. Be sure to verify with Alinea that the tickets are legitimate (they charge $10 transfer fee and as part of this verify the tickets are real via an e-mail).

                    The next batch of tickets may not sell as fast as they may be releasing four months worth at once - so there will be a lot more inventory released at once (unless they opt to release them gradually in batches). So long as you are paying attention to Facebook and Twitter (no need to constantly be checking, but a couple of times per day and then closer attention if Alinea posts or tweets that ticket release is imminent) you should be able to obtain tickets directly from Alinea. The more flexible you are in terms of days and times, the better your odds.

                    1. re: Gonzo70

                      Good to know. The funny thing is that I actually checked 2x yesterday, but only during the morning and noon. Luckily, I'm looking for September and not August!

                      1. re: slynkie

                        Nick posted to the Alinea Facebook Page that they would definitely give advance notice for the next batch of ticket sales for Alinea (Sept-Dec).

                        If I were trying to get tickets, I would make sure I follow Alinea on Twitter, and then turn on mobile notifications for Alinea.

                    2. re: slynkie

                      If nobody pays the scalper's prices then you won't see obscene premiums. There are undoubtedly going to be some people who need to give up their tickets for whatever reason and will do so in a reasonable manner.

                      1. re: ferret

                        I'm somewhat surprised that they didn't include this in their requirements for the new system. I heard that they have a similar system for a restaurant called Next? If scalping has happened before, wouldn't it have made sense for them to add new requirements to their contract? They could've requested that the developer add a feature whereby people can put their ticket holders can post their tickets up for transfer. If the posted ticket is purchased/transferred, then the seller would be refunded (possibly minus a nominal fee for surcharges incurred by the restaurant). This should reduce scalping as the buyer and seller never actually meet. Also, I'm assuming it takes a significant amount of time to manually process all these transfers. Not only would this allow them to scale better, but it would remove transfers as an ongoing cost. On the other hand, transfers do cost $10, so they may be making a small profit from this. Though I have a feeling that they mainly charge this fee to cover their own costs and keep transfers to a minimum.

                        1. re: slynkie

                          That's pretty much it. The purpose of the ticketing was to offset the risk of not showing up to the customer (and to get the obvious benefit of the cash up front). They aren't really interested in brokering deals on resale but will do so to deter scalping and fraud. The $10 is a small price to pay for peace of mind, look at it as a "late fee."

                          1. re: slynkie

                            When you log into the system, you can transfer the ticket to anyone else with an account on the site using the built in functionality. So the seller ends up doing it themselves using the web site.

                            Nick has also said they don't want to become a clearing house for extra tickets.

                            The "no scalping" part is in the Terms of Service I think:

                            Alinea/Next can void tickets being sold for above face value most of the time; however, Illinois law always allows licensed ticket brokers to sell for above face.

                      2. re: slynkie

                        The previous reservation system was not all that different (reservations were pretty well booked the day the phone lines opened) so you're not really at a disadvantage. Subscribe to the Twitter feed and you have more than a fighting chance to get tickets for September when they become available.

                        1. re: ferret

                          Yes, that's a good idea! I liked them on Facebook. Also, I've actually never used Twitter before, but I'm definitely going to use it now. The main thing was that it was a surprise to me that the system opened up last night because their statement, "The online booking system is in final testing and will be ready to launch any day now", is significantly less precise than saying, for example, the first of the month.

                          1. re: slynkie

                            They had planned on the system being live much earlier in July but, as with all such plans, reality got in the way.

                            1. re: slynkie

                              Also, (and I used this strategy), they do sell a lot of places to visitors from out-of-town.
                              My suspicion was that they wanted to give a chance to people on the west coast (i.e. would not start the offering early morning Chicago time) and similarly give a 'fair chance' to visitors from Europe (and midnight europe time is round about 5:00pm Chicago time (your home country may vary slightly). So I figured between 10:00am and 5:00pm would be 'launch time'.
                              They also open phone lines 'for the trade' on Friday mornings (see FAQ) - so Thursday 'sometime' seemed likely - so either I'm a genius, or just dumb lucky - as I got in.
                              They actually launched shortly after fixing the postal code and telephone 'bugs' - which surfaced when people tried to register credit cards.

                  2. A service member here. I am flying my wife out to Chicago for our first weekend together in quite awhile, and I wanted to treat her to something truly phenomenal - and as far as food goes, Alinea fit the bill perfectly.
                    However, when I went to book a reservation, I found that they unfortunately had sold out of all their "tickets" for August...
                    I would never normally do this, but considering the circumstances, I am short on options - if anyone is willing to sell me their two tickets for August 25, I would be deeply grateful! I would also be more than happy to compensate for the inconvenience.

                    Thank you!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: simplygreene86

                      Also try their Facebook page and make sure you sign up for Twitter. Follow them on Twitter & sign up for SMS notifications. They sometimes have last minute, same night tables available.