Sable Kitchen & Bar (cocktails)
A new hotel bar in River North, another spot to knock back raspberry vodka martinis on expense accounts. Unless the bar lies within corridors-long Sable at the Hotel Palomar. Here, the martinis are dry and made with gin, and the extensive cocktail list spans from classic (Manhattan) to downright archaic (the Widow’s Kiss, an 1890s throwback with applejack and yellow chartreuse). And the bartenders willingly go to bat for poor, misunderstood vermouth. If you don’t know where to start, talk to head bartender Mike Ryan. The Violet Hour alum shares cocktail lore freely, making even frumpy daiquiris sound cool. Digital fireplace decor be damned—that warm glow is coming from the glass. 505 N State St (312-755-9704).
Other nominees Chizakaya (sake), Duchamp (cocktails), Henri (wine), Owen & Engine (beer)