Popular Boystown bars Replay and Elixir expand into another gayborhood with new locations opening in Andersonville today. Both bars, occupying adjoining spaces at Clark Street and Balmoral Avenue, offer a little more room to breathe than their Halsted Street counterparts, along with something entirely new: food.
Replay Andersonville, like the original, offers a range of retro video games to play for free (though pinball is a buck). At the bar the emphasis is on beer and bourbon, with a rotating tap list of 26 drafts and 39 varieties of bourbon (and that's not counting the ryes, Irish, Scotch and other whiskeys).
Photograph: Ed Negron
Chefs Bernardo Ibarra, former sous chef at Girl & the Goat, and Steve Farbstein, former sous chef at Luxbar, have put together a menu with upscale spins on bar standards like burgers, sandwiches and nachos, but also things like kale empanadas, cauliflower and quinoa risotto and seasonal soups—currently a tomato and watermelon gazpacho. Replay opens at 9am on the weekend for brunch, with items like applewood bacon waffles with black cherry bourbon syrup and candied pecans or chicken and waffles with jicama slaw and sriracha aioli.
Replay shares a kitchen with its cocktail-lounge sib Elixir Andersonville, where Ibarra and Farbstein will eventually introduce a menu of small plates and charcuterie. Right now the focus is on cocktails, but having access to a kitchen allows mixologist Vlad Novikov to do some things with drinks that the Halsted Elixir can't, like flavored ices and fat-washed spirits. He's also crafting infusions like a black garlic Polugar.
Photograph: Ed Negron
Novikov has created a handful of new signature cocktails that will only be served at the Andersonville location, such as the I'm Not Your Sweetheart, made with Plymouth Gin, Mathilde Peche, Campari, pineapple and lemon juices, and the Flower Power, with Nolet's Gin, rose-lavender-violet syrup, lemon and housemade nasturtium bitters and garnished with a candied hibiscus flower.
There are also two new "communal cocktails" that serve four to five people: a $45 Japanese cold-drip mai tai (El Dorado 5 Year Rum, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Small Hand Orgeat, Rare Tea Cellar Mallorca Melon tea, clove, black lime, ginger, anise, allspice) and a rum punch made with El Dorado, lemon sherbet, RTC 2010 Vintage Sicilian Blood Orange Pu-erh tea and strawberry ice, topped off with the Champagne of beers, Miller High Life. It's $75 for 5-year rum, $125 for 12-year.