Just two years after its debut in 2018, the West Loop bar and restaurant Kumiko has snagged a spot on The World's 50 Best Bars list, which named the Japanese-inspired spot the 82nd best bar in the world.
The much-anticipated list, which is assembled by more than 540 beverage experts worldwide, picks out 100 exemplary bars from across the globe each year to assemble an international drinking guide. Kumiko ranks among other big-name drinking establishments in the U.S. like New York cocktail bars Dante (the second best in the world) and Death & Co (89th on the list). During a year that's been devastating to the hospitality industry, the list is also meant to bolster bars as they face an uphill climb toward recovering from closures, reduced sales and other COVID-19 related hardships.
"Despite relentless challenges this year, these bars have emerged with inspiring resilience, with many advancing in their recovery process," Mark Sansom, content editor for The World's 50 Best Bars, said in a statement.
Kumiko has long been lauded for its creative approach to drinking and dining; it's also been at the forefront in advocating for the Chicago bar industry's survival over the past year. Helmed by Julia Momose (GreenRiver, Aviary) and Noah Sandoval (Oriole), the bar draws inspiration from Momose's Japanese heritage, pairing drinks made with rare Japanese whiskies, sake and shochu alongside an omakase-style tasting menu. Earlier this year, Momose also spearheaded the Cocktails for Hope movement to legalize the sale of to-go cocktails—an effort that proved successful in June, when the Chicago City Council officially approved legislation allowing bars to offer pre-mixed takeout cocktail options.
Want to try out Kumiko for yourself? Visit them for outdoor drinks in their garden area, or order to-go cocktails and other treats through Kumiko Omochi-Kaeri (which translates to "pick up and take home"). Menu options include a bevy of batched cocktails, like the aquamarine-colored The Unicorn—made with Suntory Roku gin, Lillet Blanc, yuzu juice and Blue Curaçao—which donates partial proceeds to Brave Space Alliance. Bottoms up!
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