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Double A | Cocktail bar report card

Why you should spend your money elsewhere.


History Born in late 2009 in the basement of hip Mexican restaurant Mercadito, Double A gained attention for the men behind its drink list—New York cocktail gurus the Tippling Bros.—and for its unusual inside-out bar setup: Tools and fresh ingredients are arranged on a long counter extending from one wall, leaving three sides open for bartenders to stand. This puts them close to the densely packed crowd as they shimmy their shakers and set fire to rosemary sprigs, creating craft cocktails that incorporate all spirits, not just tequila and mescal.

Decor Handsomely wood-paneled sauna

Crowd Eclectic. One slightly-too-big birthday party, a middle-aged couple too into each other to be aware of their surroundings and a handful of near-minors.

Noise Very loud club music is at odds with the otherwise intimate, potentially chill lounge atmosphere.

Minutes to get a seat on a weekend night Zero

Minutes to order/receive first drink 5/6

Creativity Some drinks seem dated. Others are edgy, using shrubs and sherries.

Quality The Wise Old Sage (JM Rhum Blanc, Clément Créole Shrubb, white grapefruit juice, sage, syrup) was too sweet with no competing flavors. The best drink is closest to a classic margarita: the Double DAAisy, well-balanced with Espolón tequila reposado, Cointreau, lime juice, orange and agave.

Value If you want to spend $12 on a cocktail in River North, you should at least drink it in a room with a better atmosphere.

Food With the well-oiled Mercadito kitchen upstairs, this food trumps that in most bars.

Final evaluation The drinks are too pricey for what you’re getting, and the music is terrible. Enjoy the food upstairs in the Mercadito dining room instead.

Still iconic? NO

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