There’s never been a better time to be thirsty in Chi-Town, thanks to the city’s recent spate of bar openings. Raise a glass – tis the season to make merry, after all – to these box-fresh drinking dens, which include bohemian hangouts, wine dining spots, design-centric hideaways and Japanese joints. Cin cin!
Boho-glam Beatnik is as international as bars get: its lavish interiors star striking antiques plucked from all corners of the globe. The grand teak facade was sourced from a house in Bali, the glittering crystal chandeliers were salvaged from the ballroom of the Yamasaki-designed Century Plaza Hotel, the carved wooden doors were plucked from an Egyptian abode, and the patisserie counter hails from Paris. The effect is dramatic, the feel is relaxed; the food on the plate veers middle eastern and the stellar tipples seriously shaken.
Start sommelier and food-pro Tom Powers has opened an ambitious multi-tiered wine-bar/restaurant, the kookily monikered The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet. Reasons to come here include the impressive wine list (but natch), the sociable jazz nights and the bistro’s bold, wine-matched Mediterranean-style dishes.
Inspired by Chicago’s starchitect Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie School in the West Loop’s harmonious interior is decorated with caramel-coloured leather chairs, wood, glass and metal accents. This bar-star is dapper but diminutive; swing by early to claim your perch.
Continuing the visual highs, swellegant Proxi is pure eye-candy: statement lights, luscious leather, beautiful banquettes and lofty ceilings are just a few of its flourishes. The ambitious dishes and drinks pair tradition with a mod-American perspective.
Join Chi-Town’s off-duty jetset at celeb-loved, born-in-LA Katana, which woos with robatayaki-style Japanese comfort food (grilled treats a-go-go) and exotic libations. Go large on sushi and sashimi, then slake your thirst with sake and Japanese whisky. Bravo!
Beatnik / 1604 W Chicago Ave / West Town / +1 312 929 4945 / 5pm-2am Mon-Fri, 11am-3am Sat, until midnight Sun / beatnikchicago.com
The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet / 736 W Randolph St / West Loop / +1 312 775 0069 / 5pm-11pm Thu, until midnight Fri-Sat, until 10pm Sun-Wed / thelunaticloverpoet.com
Prairie School / 326 N Morgan St / West Loop / +1 312 763 6564 / 5pm-2am Sun-Thu, from 4pm Fri, until 3am Sat / prairieschoolchicago.com
Proxi / 565 W Randolph St / West Loop / +1 312 466 1950 / 4pm-1am Mon-Thu, 3pm-2am Fri-Sat / proxichicago.com
Katana / Hotel Chicago / 339 N Dearborn St / River North / +1 312 245 0333 / 4pm-11pm Mon-Wed, until midnight Thu-Fri, from 5pm Sat, until 11pm Sun / thehotelchicago.com