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Looking for great cocktail experiences

Looking for great cocktail experiences
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  • Looking for great cocktail experiences

    Post #1 - May 25th, 2009, 1:13 pm
    Post #1 - May 25th, 2009, 1:13 pm Post #1 - May 25th, 2009, 1:13 pm
    The Violet Hours is great and I agree with most of the review in another thread. I've asked around for hotel and restaurant bars that have good cocktail programs but have a very short list of responses. National 27 and Spiaggia were two suggestions. There have to be more - where are they?
    Cooking is the accumulation of details done to perfection. Fernand Point
  • Post #2 - May 25th, 2009, 1:45 pm
    Post #2 - May 25th, 2009, 1:45 pm Post #2 - May 25th, 2009, 1:45 pm
    Bar DeVille
    In Fine Spirits
    The Matchbox/Silver Palm
  • Post #3 - May 25th, 2009, 3:02 pm
    Post #3 - May 25th, 2009, 3:02 pm Post #3 - May 25th, 2009, 3:02 pm
    Moto/Otom as well, especially Otom if only because its bar is far more comfortable than Moto.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #4 - May 25th, 2009, 9:21 pm
    Post #4 - May 25th, 2009, 9:21 pm Post #4 - May 25th, 2009, 9:21 pm
    The Drawing Room thread
    The Drawing Room website

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #5 - May 26th, 2009, 7:58 am
    Post #5 - May 26th, 2009, 7:58 am Post #5 - May 26th, 2009, 7:58 am
    I used to love Sepia's cocktails, but they've been more inconsistent now that Peter Vestinos has moved on.
  • Post #6 - May 26th, 2009, 8:13 am
    Post #6 - May 26th, 2009, 8:13 am Post #6 - May 26th, 2009, 8:13 am
    jsagoff wrote:I used to love Sepia's cocktails, but they've been more inconsistent now that Peter Vestinos has moved on.


    Yeah I was very impressed when I ate and drank there a year and a half ago, but I've been hearing the same things about the cocktail program at Sepia. I know Peter consulted on a cocktail menu that is about to debut, I'll have to see how that works out once the kinks are ironed out.

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #7 - May 26th, 2009, 10:23 am
    Post #7 - May 26th, 2009, 10:23 am Post #7 - May 26th, 2009, 10:23 am
    Tiny Lounge
    4352 N. Leavitt St., Chicago
    Tel: (773) 463-0396

    Edited to add: Tiny Lounge is not really a restaurant with a good bar program. It is half-bar, half-restaurant. The food is very good. Cocktails are excellent.
  • Post #8 - May 26th, 2009, 11:04 am
    Post #8 - May 26th, 2009, 11:04 am Post #8 - May 26th, 2009, 11:04 am
    Bar DeVille in Ukranian Village. I stopped in, met Brad Bolt, and he proceeded to make me (us) the finest cocktails I had in Chicago. The man has very well conceived and executed cocktails.
    Nacional27 is of a different style of cocktail. (More the "west coast" style of exotic ingredients as opposed to the east coast tendency to riff on classics.) Again, very VERY interesting and delicious. Full flavor spectrums, exotic bitters made in-house. Adam Seger is always spot-on.
  • Post #9 - June 5th, 2009, 1:05 pm
    Post #9 - June 5th, 2009, 1:05 pm Post #9 - June 5th, 2009, 1:05 pm
    One more place to try is Bluprint in the Merchandise Mart. They always use fresh squeezed juices, seasonally rotate the drink menu and have a few great bartenders. Drinks are $9 and a steal for the neighborhood. The wife and I like the vibe, especially when the after work people head for the trains.
  • Post #10 - June 5th, 2009, 9:24 pm
    Post #10 - June 5th, 2009, 9:24 pm Post #10 - June 5th, 2009, 9:24 pm
    In addition to Violet Hour, these are my favorite cocktail favorites:

    http://www.chibarproject.com/Reviews/Bungalow/Bungalow.htm
    http://www.chibarproject.com/Reviews/LongRoom/LongRoom.html

    And for the view... http://www.chibarproject.com/Reviews/Signature/Signature.html
    Drinkers with a Writing Problem:
    http://www.chibarproject.com
  • Post #11 - July 10th, 2009, 8:02 am
    Post #11 - July 10th, 2009, 8:02 am Post #11 - July 10th, 2009, 8:02 am
    jacketpotato wrote:One more place to try is Bluprint in the Merchandise Mart. They always use fresh squeezed juices, seasonally rotate the drink menu and have a few great bartenders. Drinks are $9 and a steal for the neighborhood. The wife and I like the vibe, especially when the after work people head for the trains.

    I went for cocktails and appetizers after work at Bluprint yesterday with a few friends. The drinks were definitely crafted with care and used quality ingredients, but they were ALL very sweet and fruity. (Between the 5 of us we tried over half their specialty drink menu.) If you're someone who prefers sweet, fruity cocktails, I'd unreservedly recommend Bluprint. But if you prefer cocktails that are more bitter, less sweet, this probably isn't the place for you. (I fall in the latter camp.) The only drink we had that wasn't very sweet was the bacon manhattan. It was...interesting. I can't quite call it good or bad. It definitely tasted like bacon...smoky and porky, but I'm just not sure that's a good thing in a cocktail. I think the group consensus was that we were all glad one of us ordered it, but I don't think any of us would get it again.

    They were also dead. We were there from about 5 to 8. There was one other group there when we arrived, two or three groups came and left while we were there and by the time we left, there were no other patrons. We didn't see anyone there for dinner at all, which is a shame really. We stuck mostly to the appetizers, but we enjoyed the food we had. Our favorites were the fried pickles and tallegio/chorizo poppers.
  • Post #12 - April 20th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Post #12 - April 20th, 2010, 4:41 pm Post #12 - April 20th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    I have been trying several of the "speakeasy"-type cocktail lounges in New York (Little Branch, Pegu Club, Rye House, Apotheke), and just tried Angel's Share (8 Stuyvesant Street - upstairs through a Japanese restaurant) for what can only be described as an "interesting" (and tasty - though once in a lifetime) cocktail: the Del Sasser: Bacon-infused bourbon, Premium Plum Liquor, Pomegranate Juice, Fresh Lime Juice, Balsamic Honey, and a Dash of Angostura Bitters - A modern "New Yorker" - an odd, but not unpleasant combination of flavors. Perhaps the bacon was a bit overpowering, but with an egg it could be just the thing for a hangover.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #13 - April 24th, 2010, 3:18 pm
    Post #13 - April 24th, 2010, 3:18 pm Post #13 - April 24th, 2010, 3:18 pm
    The bar inside of the Blackstone Hotels Mercat ala Planxa has a great presentation
    of infused fruits and other unusual flavors in an "adult" cocktail-
    basil,
    cucumber,
    infused stone fruits, etc.
    The bartender when we were last there- an extremely talented and friendly chap
    from Brazil - told many a great story of his Capoeira training,
    along w/ his job as a repo man in the favelas of Rio!
    Talk about "cahones"........

    Also delete BluePrint.
    Closed a month ago.
    Try Gilt, on Hubbard @ Franklin.
    Add Whistler on Milwaukee to your list.
    And Longman and Eagle too!


    Mercat
    638 S. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL
    312.765.0524
  • Post #14 - April 26th, 2010, 8:27 am
    Post #14 - April 26th, 2010, 8:27 am Post #14 - April 26th, 2010, 8:27 am
    Longman and Eagle's cocktails are nothing to write home (or even text your friends) about. Their bourbon selection is pretty awesome, especially if you are looking to find a diamond in the rough.

    Favorite Chicago cocktail experiences, in order of drink awesomeness:

    1. The Violet Hour (Cocktails 10, Ambience 9, Service 9)
    2. Sable (Cocktails 10, Ambience 6, Service 4 -- but they're ironing out kinks)
    3. In Fine Spirits (Cocktails 9, Ambience 7, Service 8 )
    4. The Drawing Room (Cocktails 9, Ambience 7, Service 3)
    5. Nacional 27 (Cocktails 8, Ambience 9, Service 7)
    6. The Whistler (Cocktails 8, Ambience 2, Service 9) sooooo loud
    7. Sepia (Cocktails 7, Ambience 8, Service 8 )
    8. Longman and Eagle (Cocktails 6, Ambience 7, Service 10) Food is amazing.
    9. Big Star (Cocktails 6, Ambience 2, Service 1) Great tacos and micheladas, though.

    never tried: The AA, Bar DeVille, Bristol, The Exchange, Mercadito, Signature Lounge, Tiny Lounge, Weegee's


    I think that's pretty comprehensive. There may be one or two cocktail-oriented places I've forgotten about, but that's a pretty decent list.
  • Post #15 - April 26th, 2010, 8:29 am
    Post #15 - April 26th, 2010, 8:29 am Post #15 - April 26th, 2010, 8:29 am
    jsagoff, what did you have at Longman and Eagle? I had their Old Fashioned a few weeks ago and really liked it.
    Last edited by Darren72 on April 26th, 2010, 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #16 - April 26th, 2010, 8:44 am
    Post #16 - April 26th, 2010, 8:44 am Post #16 - April 26th, 2010, 8:44 am
    I tried both the Old Fashioned and the Manhatten and very much enjoyed both...just got a look at the spring menu as well and the Carpathian (Aperol, Fernet Branca and Birch Beer) looks heavenly...
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #17 - April 26th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Post #17 - April 26th, 2010, 9:01 am Post #17 - April 26th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Had drinks at Sable Kitchen & Bar on Friday night and came away impressed. The bartenders took a lot of pride in their cocktail-making and quality of their ingredients. In general, I am a huge fan of In Fine Spirits. But if you are in or around River North, I'd definitely check out Sable. And sit at the bar.
  • Post #18 - April 26th, 2010, 1:08 pm
    Post #18 - April 26th, 2010, 1:08 pm Post #18 - April 26th, 2010, 1:08 pm
    The problem with Longman and Eagle's cocktails isn't so much quality but selection. There can't be more than about a half-dozen on the menu -- the liquor they serve is meant to be drunk straight. The Old-Fashioned is good but nothing really mindblowing; I especially enjoy the large ice-cubes that TVH and a few other places have, but L&E lack.
  • Post #19 - May 14th, 2010, 10:46 pm
    Post #19 - May 14th, 2010, 10:46 pm Post #19 - May 14th, 2010, 10:46 pm
    Have to say I think the old fashioned I had at Longman & Eagle a few months ago was excellent, gave up very little to the one I had at Violet Hour.

    The drinks at Bar Deville are also really superb, I remember the whisky sour being particularly good. I also (vaguely) remember leaving Bar Deville very drunk.

    I also had a great lemon/gingertini at Ben Pao a few nights ago, actually the tastiest part of the meal.
  • Post #20 - January 3rd, 2015, 1:15 pm
    Post #20 - January 3rd, 2015, 1:15 pm Post #20 - January 3rd, 2015, 1:15 pm
    Had a Longman Manhattan (Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Punt é Mes, Angostura & Cherry bitters) in the OSB in the back yesterday evening. A very good Manhattan and a nice value at $8.

    Would have liked to seen more cocktail options and never saw the extensive whiskey list, my guess is due to being in the OSB. Will return and sit at the main bar.
  • Post #21 - January 6th, 2015, 12:34 am
    Post #21 - January 6th, 2015, 12:34 am Post #21 - January 6th, 2015, 12:34 am
    My current favorite bars worth hitting specifically for cocktails (not necessarily ranked and I'm sure I'm leaving a few out *hic* 8)) . . .

    Scofflaw
    Sepia
    Sportsmans Club
    Barrelhouse Flat
    Berkshire Room
    Ward 8
    Analogue
    Billy Sunday
    Punch House
    Sable
    Bar DeVille
    Violet Hour
    Dusek's
    Lone Wolf
    Yusho
    Whistler
    A-10
    Bavette's

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #22 - January 6th, 2015, 10:06 am
    Post #22 - January 6th, 2015, 10:06 am Post #22 - January 6th, 2015, 10:06 am
    Copied and pasted into Evernote for easy access. Thanks Ronnie!
  • Post #23 - January 7th, 2015, 3:52 pm
    Post #23 - January 7th, 2015, 3:52 pm Post #23 - January 7th, 2015, 3:52 pm
    Fantastic list, ronnie!
  • Post #24 - January 7th, 2015, 7:34 pm
    Post #24 - January 7th, 2015, 7:34 pm Post #24 - January 7th, 2015, 7:34 pm
    Are there any decent cocktail places out in the western suburbs? I'm in the Elmhurst/oakbrook area and decent nightlife isn't all that easy to find...
  • Post #25 - January 11th, 2015, 11:15 pm
    Post #25 - January 11th, 2015, 11:15 pm Post #25 - January 11th, 2015, 11:15 pm
    Kid Charlemagne wrote:Are there any decent cocktail places out in the western suburbs? I'm in the Elmhurst/oakbrook area and decent nightlife isn't all that easy to find...


    Are Hinsdale or Western Springs close enough? If so, check out Vie or Vistro. Both cocktail programs are manned by Bill Anderson, who cut his teeth at Sepia (mentioned above).
  • Post #26 - January 11th, 2015, 11:23 pm
    Post #26 - January 11th, 2015, 11:23 pm Post #26 - January 11th, 2015, 11:23 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:My current favorite bars worth hitting specifically for cocktails (not necessarily ranked and I'm sure I'm leaving a few out *hic* 8)) . . .

    Scofflaw
    Sepia
    Sportsmans Club
    Barrelhouse Flat
    Berkshire Room
    Ward 8
    Analogue
    Billy Sunday
    Punch House
    Sable
    Bar DeVille
    Violet Hour
    Dusek's
    Lone Wolf
    Yusho
    Whistler
    A-10
    Bavette's

    =R=


    A great list...there's a couple I'd add to it.

    Like Sepia, a lot of fine dining-ish spots make some great cocktails. I'm thinking Blackbird, BOKA, GT Fish & Oyster and Nico Osteria. Also, I dig the River North spots like Tanta and Three Dots and a Dash (though I haven't been since McGee has left). Finally, I like Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar, located next to GNR Pleasant House Bakery.
  • Post #27 - January 12th, 2015, 12:30 am
    Post #27 - January 12th, 2015, 12:30 am Post #27 - January 12th, 2015, 12:30 am
    milz50 wrote:A great list...there's a couple I'd add to it.

    Like Sepia, a lot of fine dining-ish spots make some great cocktails. I'm thinking Blackbird, BOKA, GT Fish & Oyster and Nico Osteria. Also, I dig the River North spots like Tanta and Three Dots and a Dash (though I haven't been since McGee has left). Finally, I like Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar, located next to GNR Pleasant House Bakery.

    I totally agree about Blackbird. Kyle Davidson (formerly at Violet Hour and Guildhall) runs a glorious bar over there. The only reason I didn't mention it is because it's a very small bar (6 seats?) and you can sometimes get bumped for diners, who can reserve seats at the bar, if you're just drinking there.

    The bars at BOKA and GT F&O really came into their own when Ben Schiller ran them. Much of the asethetic he brought to those places still remains in place. Though, more than cocktails, I associate them with very well-curated spirits libraries -- also a by-product of Schiller's time there.

    And yes, Nico Osteria is an excellent suggestion. I love Matty Eggleston's work. Though, I've only been there once, the cocktails were one of my favorite parts of the experience.

    I always enjoyed 3 Dots when Paul McGee was there but now that's he's departed, I have no idea if it's still what it once was.

    Tanta and Maria's . . . I've enjoyed them both but didn't have cocktails that I loved at either place. I'll have to re-visit for sure.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #28 - January 12th, 2015, 10:47 am
    Post #28 - January 12th, 2015, 10:47 am Post #28 - January 12th, 2015, 10:47 am
    milz50 wrote:
    Kid Charlemagne wrote:Are there any decent cocktail places out in the western suburbs? I'm in the Elmhurst/oakbrook area and decent nightlife isn't all that easy to find...


    Are Hinsdale or Western Springs close enough? If so, check out Vie or Vistro. Both cocktail programs are manned by Bill Anderson, who cut his teeth at Sepia (mentioned above).


    Those are both within my range - thanks!
  • Post #29 - January 13th, 2015, 5:31 pm
    Post #29 - January 13th, 2015, 5:31 pm Post #29 - January 13th, 2015, 5:31 pm
    Good in the western suburbs? Not really, but Chef Shangri-La is worth going to for the kitsch fire-juggling-and-elvis-impersonator spectacle, albeit less so for the tiki drinks that err on the side of milkshake.

    I'll second (or so) Maria's, which has a great vibe to go along with the drinks.
  • Post #30 - January 14th, 2015, 11:37 pm
    Post #30 - January 14th, 2015, 11:37 pm Post #30 - January 14th, 2015, 11:37 pm
    milz50 wrote:
    Like Sepia, a lot of fine dining-ish spots make some great cocktails. I'm thinking Blackbird, BOKA, GT Fish & Oyster and Nico Osteria.


    I'll add Naha in River North is one of my favorite spots for cocktails. They do the classics justice. The bar dining experience is great as well.

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