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Photograph: Martha Williams

NoMI Lounge | Cocktail bar report card

The view is better than the drinks at this iconic bar.


History Shortly after opening in 2001, NoMI scored national ink as a standout chef-driven restaurant. These days there’s more buzz around its views of the Mag Mile.

Decor Perfect lighting casts a low-wattage amber glow that makes everyone and everything look beautiful.

Crowd Deep-pocketed businessmen sip 25-year Scotch, while the occasional date or splurging tourist oohs and ahhs over the Water Tower window view.

Minutes to get a seat on a weekend night Zero

Minutes to order/receive first drink 2/3

Creativity An A for effort, with drinks boasting intriguing ingredients such as Corsair red absinthe and cinnamon bitters

Quality Cocktails prepared by two bartenders are ridiculously boozy, while a third somehow manages to turn a concoction of Aperol, vodka, egg white, chamomile and lime into a dead ringer for Hawaiian Punch.

Value At $14 a pop, spend your money elsewhere…

Food …like on NoMI’s oysters and sushi.

Final evaluation Good looks and a great view have helped keep this lounge busy as it stretches into its second decade, but with average drinks (and a few puzzling potions seemingly aimed at the Cosmo set), it’s tough to deem it a cocktail destination for locals.

Still iconic? NO

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