As smooth, sure and timeless in nature as its name suggests, the Windy City’s Tortoise Club has finally opened its dark-wood doors to reveal the sultry parlour within. Nostalgia and sophistication abounds in the 50-seat bar and lounge, a glamorous vision of smooth, suede booths and equine-inspired art, with a jazz trio complete with grand piano offering Golden Age-worthy entertainment. The bottle list is long enough to satisfy every oenophile and liquor lover, while Prohibition-inspired cocktails like the namesake Tipsy Tortoise – a scotch-based concoction of TC syrup, Averno Amaro, lemon, bitters and mint – tempt the daring alongside classics like Manhattans and Moscow Mules.
Stopping for supper? Beeline to the humming, low-lit dining room, with its blood-red walls, patent button-back banquettes and fireplace setting the perfect old-school Chicago scene. The menu, crafted by Boka alum and executive chef Greg McNally, leaves barely an animal unaccounted for, with a raw shellfish bar boasting oysters and jumbo gulf prawns to get the ball rolling, and veal sweetbread and pan-roasted quail appetizers to follow. Meaty mains include short rib bourguignon and Berkshire pork chop along with the signature wild pheasant pie with root vegetables and foie gras, though seafarers would do well to choose the lobster thermidor or Dover sole smothered in champagne truffle sauce. Come out of your shell!