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"cocktailian" bars in Chicago?

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Can anyone recommend some? I'm pretty new to the city's bar scene (22 and didn't really care about "real" drinks until recently), so I'd appreciate any recommendations.

Thanks.

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Can anyone recommend some?  I'm pretty new to the city's bar scene (22 and didn't really care about "real" drinks until recently), so I'd appreciate any recommendations.

Thanks.

As a Chicagoan I was hoping somebody would respond to your post. Most of the places I go I'm a little gunshy when it comes to ordering cocktails other than a Martini. Either they're shot'n'beer joints or restaurants where I don't have a chance to talk to the bartender. Also, I don't spend much time in the ritzier joints downtown where, I imagine, ordering a Sidecar won't get you a blank stare.

Anyhoo, if you have a chance, the only place I am confident the barstaff can make you just about anything you might want is The Matchbox. It's a teeny, tiny joint a little North and a little West of downtown. I don't get there often enough.

Oh, there's always the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancock Bldg. A touch pricey but considering the size of the drinks and the view it isn't any more expensive than joints far closer to street level.

Here's a link to those two and three others I haven't tried.

Kurt

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Can you clarify what you mean by 'real' drinks? are we talking Gibsons & Rob Roys or Apple Martini-types?

As far as 'scenes' go, I've been out of them for a while. My bar nights tend to also be beer/shot places that make stiff Maker's & Cokes. Most fine dining restaurants with bars will know how to make a proper cocktail...especially some of the old guard places.

A place that my wife & I use to frequent while we were dating (as well as after we got married) was the Star Bar at Sheffield (2934 N. Sheffield). It specializes in Champagne & Champage cocktails (along with the adjacent Pops for Champagne). But the bartenders always made me a mean Manhattan when I asked.

You should also ask in the Heartland Forum.

Cheers!

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If you like south of the border drinks (the by-now-somewhat-trite mojito, for example), you might check out Mambo Grill in River North.

I second the Pops recommendation, too.

Can anyone recommend some?  I'm pretty new to the city's bar scene (22 and didn't really care about "real" drinks until recently), so I'd appreciate any recommendations.

Thanks.

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Clark Street Ale House aims to please with a good selection of whiskey and rum. The Map Room should be on your list of places to try, but depending on the night, it might be a crapshoot.

There are others, but I'll have to wake up first.

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And if you like Scotch, head over to the Duke of Perth on Clark & Oakdale(ish). It's a great pub with good food, beer, & an awesome selction of Scotches.

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Anyhoo, if you have a chance, the only place I am confident the barstaff can make you just about anything you might want is The Matchbox.  It's a teeny, tiny joint a little North and a little West of downtown.  I don't get there often enough.

This is the first (only?) place that came to mind for me as well. It has a dive bar feel but the bartenders there are truly exceptional mixologists. An unbeatable combination. I should mention that it is really, really tiny (I've heard it's the smallest bar in Chicago) so I personally like to go at a quieter hour. Having said that, I was there last Friday and managed to get a seat easily. You just have to have a sense of humor about people squeezing by you.

Exact address is 770 N Milwaukee Ave, right by the Chicago blue line.


Edited by VeryApe77 (log)

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so, where can i get a good old fashioned in chicago?? had one at the hancock building- not too bad. had both a whiskey and brandy (my friend said that in wisconsin, they make em with brandy, not whiskey. . .to my horror)

my one aesthetical complaint was that it wasn't served in the obligatory old fashioned glass, it was more like a regular wine glass.

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so, where can i get a good old fashioned in chicago??  had one at the hancock building- not too bad.  had both a whiskey and brandy (my friend said that in wisconsin, they make em with brandy, not whiskey. . .to my horror)

my one aesthetical complaint was that it wasn't served in the obligatory old fashioned glass, it was more like a regular wine glass.

Hate to sound like a broken record but I think the matchbox does a good old fashioned. I haven't had one there, but a drinking buddy of mine always orders one when he is there with me. Looked pretty good to me.

I had a good old fashioned at the hideout last night as well.

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...so, where can i get a good old fashioned in chicago??...(my friend said that in wisconsin, they make em with brandy, not whiskey. . .to my horror)...

I've lived in Chi for six years but spent the previous 30-some in WI. I've never heard of a Brandy Old-Fashioned but I suppose it may exist in WI (or elsewhere). I think your friend was confusing which classic cocktail WI has twisted. It's the Manhattans in WI that are often made with brandy. A "Brandy Man" is the default Manhattan in a solid chunk of WI.

I don't know the origins of this oddity but I'm pleased to note that my old man doesn't cotton to that nonsense. He's a CC Perfect Manhattan guy. I find it kinda weird that his preferred garnish is an olive but I haven't tried that so I shouldn't knock it. That said, I simply can't imagine mixing the lovely briny flavor of olives with whiskey. Vodka and gin, sure, but whiskey?

Anyhoo, just thought I'd defend Wisconsin. We may be provinicial but we aren't complete rubes.

As for a good Old-Fashioned in Chi, there's a nice Italian restaurant on Clark near Wrigley Field called Tuscany that makes a nice one. They do it with the muddled orange slice. That's not my preference but it's a fine example of it's type. They aren't offended if you ask them to hold the fruit salad.

Kurt

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