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The Violet Hour

Bars, Cocktail bars Wicker Park
4 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
The Violet Hour
Photograph: Jason Little The Violet Hour

This hip cocktail lounge is exactly what you’d expect from a bar named after a line of T.S. Eliot poetry: pristine (the carefully constructed cocktails are excellent), pretentious (you won’t find a sign on the door—just look for the long lines) and, ultimately, completely and unarguably gorgeous.


Venue name: The Violet Hour
Address: 1520 N Damen Ave
Cross street: between Le Moyne St and Wicker Park Ave
Opening hours: Sun–Fri 6pm–2am; Sat 6pm–3am
Transport: El stop: Blue to Damen. Bus:50,56,72.
Price: Average cocktail: $12
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Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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When I moved to Chicago this summer, I was walking down Damen and noticed a couple slipping into an unmarked door. My boyfriend and I decided to check it out and were amazed at what we stumbled into. The interior is dark and chic with pockets of seating that make for an intimate setting. We appreciated the no phone policy although it initially sounded pretentious. The drinks are incredible. Also... the fries are some of the best I have had in Chicago. 


Great experience! Love the atmosphere. The bartenders and host were outstanding. Very personable and informative. Drinks were outrageous and the prices right in line with what I would expect.


A tried and true cocktail classic. While the "rules" list may seem snooty and pretentious, the service is friendly and laid back. Make sure to ask for their cocktail book, which includes a lot more options than their seasonal cocktail lists. They make bitters and syrups in-house and meticulously train all their staff to enhance your one-of-a-kind classic. You really can't go wrong with anything here. 

The lines can suck, but if you haven't been, are walking by and see no line, by all means stop on in. They've let me in with shorts. 


One visit to The Violet Hour and you'll get it. Weird (but super tasty) cocktails, low light, lush seating and a hidden entrance (or, sort of hidden.. pretty much everyone knows where the door is these days..) make for an unforgettable experience, even if the wait to get in can still get pretty long. It's a great place to go for at least one fabulous drink if you're out and about in Wicker Park. 

0 of 1 found helpful
moderatorStaff Writer

The Violet Hour has been a mainstay in Chicago for years at this point and really helped kick off the city's cocktail revolution that we're all now enjoying. Ambiance is key here-from the hidden entrance to the no-phone policy and dim lighting with high-back chairs and fireplace. Even on a crowded night the bar feels spacious and intimate. And the cocktails, oh the cocktails! If you're lucky you'll get a seat at the bar and the chance to chat with the mixologists about these amazing drinks.