The West Loop gets a new bar Wednesday with the opening of The Betty at 839 W Fulton Street. The latest spot from Footman Hospitality (Bangers & Lace, The Anthem), the Betty will be “gin-heavy,” says Peter Vestinos, who’s behind the beverage program.
“I won’t say we’re a gin bar, but we’re gin-heavy,” he says. “Everybody’s doing a bourbon bar, and Scofflaw’s doing a great job with their gin bar, and we want to be more gin-focused.”
That includes a list of more than two dozen gins and a monthly rotating gin and tonic, which will be served with club service, which means each component—gin, tonic, ice, juice—will be served separately. First up is Junipero gin with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic, grapefruit bitters and lime juice. The cocktail menu features another dozen drinks, including a sherry cobbler with apple brandy and pineapple syrup, a pisco-Scotch-lime-egg drink with a red wine float on top, and three nightcaps, including a three-rum milk punch.
The beer list is short, with six beers on draft and another six in bottles, and ranges from Chicago beers (Aquanaut, Metropolitan) to international brews from Belgium and France. The wine list is a little longer but similarly edited, and includes wines by the glass and bottle. It’s “more European-focused,” Vestinos says, with an Italian sparkling rose, several pinot noirs and a mix of white varietals available.
While the 5,000-square-foot space has a “bar/lounge feel,” Vestinos says, it’s not just about booze—chef Rachel Dow (Avec) will be serving small plates like tikka masala–braised chicken thighs, fried cauliflower, several kinds of pierogis, and a cheese plate.
Vestinos has been working on beverage programs (Sepia, Tasting Room, Belly Q) in the West Loop for the past decade and says that despite all the changes to the area, there’s still a need for a great bar.
“We all recognize the need for a sophisticated cocktail space, with a great spirit selection, a great wine selection and a great beer selection,” he says. “We didn’t feel like anyone was hitting all that on a large scale. Overall, we really want to bring back the neighborhood cocktail spot in the West Loop.”