Chicago bars on our radar
When Alinea vets team up to open a brewery, they probably won’t be brewing standard IPAs and lagers. Band of Bohemia serves culinary-focused beers, like Grilled Apple Tarragon and Orange Chicory Rye, which are perfectly suited to pairing with dishes like a potato cake with romesco sauce and tapenade, or bison tartare sprinkled with cured egg yolk. In the morning, stop by for coffee, tea and pastries from Floriole.
Ben Schiller (the Berkshire Room) is one of the city’s best bartenders, surpassing our very high expectations at the Sixth, a cocktail bar in Lincoln Square. Located next to Roots, also run by the Fifty/50 group, the Sixth serves an array of whimsical cocktails: Doris, a floral gin drink with a stemmed rose suspended in ice; Silly Rabbit, layered with orange-, lemon-, raspberry- and grape-flavored ice cubes, and served with a light gin cocktail and mint bitters for doctoring it to taste; and Spaceman Spiff, a mescal cocktail placed in an astronaut’s helmet atop a terrarium. As fun as the drinks seem, they taste even better.
The Midwest offers a great bounty of food and drink producers, and cozy Farm Bar (little sister to Farmhouse in River North and Evanston) celebrates local spirits, beer and cider, and offers a menu of bar fare. The team has a farm in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and besides providing ingredients for dishes like lightly fried cheese curds and a savory-sweet burger with caramelized onions, herbed goat cheese and sour cherry cider jam, it grows apples for a very dry, tasty house cider. Cocktail drinkers should try a Professor Woland, with Rhine Hall apple brandy, rum, pear and cinnamon.