The Aviary

Critics' pick
Photograph: Martha Williams
Loaded to the Gunwalls cocktail at The Aviary.
Photograph: Martha Williams
O'Doyle Rules cocktail at The Aviary.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Juniper cocktail at The Aviary.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Juniper cocktail at The Aviary.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Beverage director Micah Melton at The Aviary
West Loop

When Grant Achatz does a cocktail bar, it should go without saying that it's no ordinary cocktail bar. At the Aviary, which opened next door to Next in 2011, cocktails receive the same innovative treatment from beverage director Micah Melton as the food at Next or Alinea. That is to say, you should expect to drink cocktails like the Junglebird, a science experiment in liquid density, with layers of rum, campari, pineapple-lime syrup and rum "pearls" suspended in the drink. O'Doyle Rules comes with a fried banana snack on top of the rum-curry-cognac concoction, while Loaded to the Gunwalls is delivered with a single tapered candle. The drink, with pineapple, hazelnut and Batavia Arrack, is served in a glass ship in a bottle. You've never seen a drink like it, and given how rare a visit to the Aviary is, you may never again.

Venue name: The Aviary
Address: 955 W Fulton Market St

Opening hours: Wed-Sun 6pm-2am (3am on Sat)
Transport: El stop: Green, Pink to Morgan. Bus: 8, 20, 56, 65.
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Worth the time for reserving ahead and dropping in for a drink experience. They'll treat you well. Drinks are amazing, too.