CHSO June 2012 : Page 68
We predict Drumbar, the rooftop lounge and outdoor terrace at the Raffaello Hotel, will be the place to be this summer. 68 | | June 2012 photography by anthony tahlier THE RADAR | NIGHTLIFE see Worthy Rooms With a View Night Moves forget going to bed early—chicago’s nightlife scene will be hotter than ever this summer (and we’re not talking about the weather). here, our picks on where to drink up and get down. | By Lisa Shames | Chicago’s nightlife scene heads to new On the 18th heights—literally. fl oor of the Raff aello Hotel, Drumbar (drumbar. com) combines a sexy indoor space and an open-air terrace with up-close views of the John Hancock Center and the lake. When it opens this month, dark spirits will dominate the cocktail list and small plates come from Pelago downstairs. Estate (estateultrabar. com) unveils its new Sky Deck, a Las Vegas-style rooftop with cabanas, palm trees and two bars. Enjoy views of the city, river and Sure, the Division Street Bridge. the lovely views of Lincoln Park are going to be terrifi c from Th e J. Parker (hotellincolnchicago. com) atop the Hotel Lincoln when it opens this month. But we’re just as excited about the cocktails and small bites from ground-fl oor restaurant The intimate Perennial Virant. lounge Wet Deck (starwoodhotels. com) on the seventh fl oor of W Chicago Lakeshore makes it debut this season, off ering stunning views of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier.
The Radar Nightlife
Night Moves<br /> <br /> Forget going to bed early—chicago’s nightlife scene will be hotter than ever this summer (and we’re not talking about the weather). Here, our picks on where to drink up and get down.<br /> <br /> see Worthy <br /> <br /> Rooms With a View<br /> <br /> Chicago’s nightlife scene heads to new heights—literally. On the 18th floor of the Raffaello Hotel, Drumbar (drumbar. Com) combines a sexy indoor space and an open-air terrace with up-close views of the John Hancock Center and the lake. When it opens this month, dark spirits will dominate the cocktail list and small plates come from Pelago downstairs. Estate (estateultrabar. Com) unveils its new Sky Deck, a Las Vegas-style rooftop with cabanas, palm trees and two bars. Enjoy views of the city, river and the Division Street Bridge. Sure, the lovely views of Lincoln Park are going to be terrific from Th e J. Parker (hotellincolnchicago. Com) atop the Hotel Lincoln when it opens this month. But we’re just as excited about the cocktails and small bites from ground-floor restaurant Perennial Virant. The intimate lounge Wet Deck (starwoodhotels. Com) on the seventh floor of W Chicago Lakeshore makes it debut this season, offering stunning views of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier.<br /> <br /> Raising the bar <br /> <br /> From a honky-tonk bar in Wicker Park to a River North burger joint to a bustling downtown steakhouse, it’s hard not to find venues offering a terrific handcrafted cocktail in Chicago these days. Not sure where to go? Here are a few of our favorite places, drinks and mixologists.<br /> <br /> Its name may mean “dove” in Spanish and its hue may be soft pink, but there’s nothing innocent about La Paloma at Big Star (bigstarchicago.com). Rather, the refreshing mix of blanco tequila, grapefruit juice and Mexican Fresca packs a punch. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Michael Simon’s cocktails at fine dining restaurant Acadia (acadiachicago. Com) are not only fun to drink (check out the absinthe ice cubes in The Amnesiac) but it’s a blast to watch them be made by the passionate bartender. It’s all about adding adult twists to childhood favorites at burger spot 25 Degrees (25degreesrestaurant. Com) and that goes for its terrific spiked milkshakes, too. Getting your daily calcium just got better. No matter what you order at The Aviary (theaviary.com), from the same team as neighboring restaurant Next and chef Grant Achatz, it’s a given it will be like no other cocktail you’ve ever had. Custom-made glassware paired with techniques borrowed from the kitchen are all part of a day’s work for cocktail chef Craig Schoettler. Barrel-aging isn’t just for scotch anymore. At David Burke’s Primehouse (davidburkes primehouse. Com) cocktails are getting in on the flavor-enhancing technique, too. The Portugeuse Cosmo is a big hit, and not just with the Sex and the City set either. While it’s the Tippling Bros.’ innovative cocktails on tap that have been garnering all the attention at Tavernita, we’re just as impressed with the housemade vermouth at its Barcito (standandeat. Com), which never fails to instantly transport us to Spain. Muchas gracias. The same care and attention to detail that goes into the food at Sepia (sepiachicago. Com) can be found in its cocktails too. To wit: Its South x Southwest, which is a mix of reposado tequila, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, rosemary, lemon, Moscato d’Asti and bitters, sounds like it shouldn’t work. But in a glass, it’s a balanced masterpiece. When there’s already a line before The Barrelhouse Flat (barrelhouseflat.com) even opens its doors at 6PM on a Saturday night, you know you’re in the right place. Sure, Logan Square’s Scofflaw (scofflawchicago. Com) gets inspiration from owner Danny Shapiro’s passion for gin. But that doesn’t mean the other spirits don’t get in on the handcrafted love, too. With a former Charlie Trotter’s executive chef in charge at Yusho (yusho-chicago. Com), we were confident the food would be terrific. But it’s the cocktails, which also speak to the restaurant’s Asian influence, that are a very pleasant surprise.<br /> <br /> Summer is served<br /> <br /> With its sunny yellow picnic-blanketpatterned label, Stiegl Grapefruit Radler has us thinking of warm weather even before we take a sip. And after? Its refreshing, low-alcohol mix of the Austrian brewer’s signature Goldbräu lager with grapefruit juice soda makes it the perfect partner on a hot summer day. Find it at Longman & Eagle and Binny’s.<br /> <br /> House rules <br /> <br /> Wine Bar Revisited <br /> <br /> Between her hosting duties on Check, Please! And former gig as Lettuce Entertain You’s wine and spirits director, Alpana Singh is a familiar face around town. But with Old Town’s The Boarding House, a multilevel wine bar/restaurant she’s opening with the owners of Bistronomic this summer, the master sommelier will be even more front and center. And she couldn’t be more excited, whether talking about the space itself, an actual boarding house back in the day; the global wine program, which will feature some hard-to-find older vintages by the glass; or the menu from chef Christian Gosselin, a mix of rustic small plates that will tap into his Quebec roots (lobster poutine, anyone?). Says Singh, “Chicago is a wonderful place to be right now for wine.” boardinghousechicago.com<br /> <br /> checKing in <br /> <br /> Lounge Acts<br /> <br /> We’ve always had a softspot for glam Chicago hotel lounges, even if we’re not spending the night on a staycation. Two of the city’s top Mag Mile hotels recently upped the ante with multimillion-dollar makeovers. The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago’s new restaurant and bar Allium (alliumchicago.com) mixes updated classic cocktails, tasty bar snacks— think chorizo cheese chips, goat cheese flatbread—and haberdashery-inspired décor to create one terrific space. If the cheetah-print sofa is available, grab it. Amuse (swissotelchicago.com), the just-renovated Swissôtel Chicago’s new lounge, features cocktail and wine pairings on its menu of seasonal small and large plates. Look for tasty dishes like veal sliders and fried avocado and crab salad. You’ll feel beyond hip noshing to DJ-style music.<br /> <br /> Grape nut <br /> <br /> Wine’s Time <br /> <br /> “People get a little freaked out when they see real wine making in the middle of the city,” says Michael Dorf. With that in mind, he’s predicting there will be plenty of double-takes on Randolph Street come August when his City Winery Chicago opens. In addition to being a fully functional winery, the 33,000-square-foot space will also house a Mediterraneaninspired restaurant, outdoor wine garden and 325-seat performance venue that will feature live music, spoken word and comedy. Dorf, a music promoter, is no stranger to this offbeat juxtaposition, having opened an award-winning City Winery in New York’s Soho neighborhood in 2008. Wine will be available by the bottle, the glass, on tap and by the barrel, and oenophiles will be able to make their own wine on-site. “My goal is to get wine into someone’s bloodstream any way I can,” says Dorf. Citywinery.com/chicago<br /> <br /> MiXMaster <br /> <br /> Rum Runner <br /> <br /> The way Paul McGee sees it, it’s high time Chicago had a proper tiki bar. And he should know—as the mixologist for The Whistler, he put the Logan Square bar on the map with his inventive cocktails (to say nothing of his unique sense of style). In February, McGee left The Whistler to partner with the Melman brothers (of HUB 51, Paris Club and RPM Italian fame), and he’s been plenty busy creating the cocktail list for RPM and Bub City, a barbecue joint in River North opening soon. But what we’re most excited about is the 4,000-square-foot tiki bar that’s being built out below Bub City. Scheduled to open early September, the yet-to-be-named spot will feature classic tiki drink favorites as well as some modern interpretations. Freshly squeezed pineapple juice and made-in-house coconut cream are part of the plan, too. And while the interior will be more luxe resort, less tiki, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some fun touches, like kitschy glassware and accessories. Says McGee, “Rich [Melman] is a big fan of swizzle sticks.”<br /> <br /> Belly up <br /> <br /> Bar Food 2.0 <br /> <br /> Used to be if you wanted to eat in a bar, you were out of luck, stale peanuts and frozen pizzas aside. Thankfully those days are over, as these spots prove. Who says punk rock and great Italian food don’t go together? Definitely not Little Italy’s Three Aces (threeaceschicago. Com) where chef Matt Troost’s meaty Bolognese sauce-topped fries, among other dishes, are crave-worthy. Fried chickpeas might sound boring, but top them with truffle oil like LUSH West Town (lushwineandspirits.com) does and we’re totally smitten. At Premise (premisechicago.com), formerly In Fine Spirits, chef Brian Runge’s playful twist on pretzels comes stuffed with foie gras, and his beer nuts are housemade. The off -the-beaten-path location of Ada St. (adastreetchicago. Com) isn’t the biggest surprise here. Rather it’s how delicious black-eyed peas become in the hands of chef Zoë Schor. Chef Nick Hertel taps into his French restaurant background for many of the dishes at The Barrelhouse Flat (barrelhouseflat. Com), including the blue cheese beignets and our new favorite, guajillo chickpea fritters with golden raisins served on housemade pita.<br /> <br /> “i’m crafting cocktails that are more delicate, lighter in alcohol and offer a refreshing balance to the spice and intense flavors of the food at belly Q,” says peter vestinos, an early driving force in chicago’s mixology scene, who recently returned to head up the cocktail program at soon-to-open belly Q on randolph street.<br /> <br /> Suds neWs <br /> <br /> What’s on Tap <br /> <br /> Hopleaf Expansion <br /> <br /> It’s been in the works for a while, but the expansion of this beloved Andersonville spot that’s been leading the charge for craft beer for 20 years is finally complete. Hopleaf.com <br /> <br /> Old Town Pour House <br /> <br /> How much does this Old Town bar like beer on tap? Take a look at the photo on the left. Or better yet stop by and sample one of its 90 beers available on draft. Decision-phobes can opt for a flight or order a 6-ounce tasting portion. A full menu of comfort food riffs means you won’t go hungry either. Oldtownpourhouse.com <br /> <br /> Dryhop Bistro & Microbrewery <br /> <br /> Chicago’s craft brewing scene is on a roll with plenty of new spots opening. But this Lakeview brewery, scheduled to arrive this fall, goes beyond its six brewed-in-house beers with an intriguing menu from a Charlie Trotter’s vet. Look for tasty dishes like cheese- and prosciuttostuffed peppers. Dryhopchicago.com <br /> <br /> Stout Barrel House and Galley <br /> <br /> Manor is gone and in its place is this recently opened, laid-back bar and restaurant. Former Blue 13 chef Chris Curren is in charge of the menu, which features sexed up comfort food. To drink, look for some 20 craft beers on tap and a creative cocktail program. Stoutbarrel houseandkitchen.com
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