FIRST IMPRESSION Sheet music, records and tarnished brass instruments stapled to the wall look sad in the bright light of the early fall evenings, and it is immediately obvious that decor isn't the focus at this sprawling, two-floor River North bar. The main dining room is practically deserted on a weekday after work, save for one other pair confirming our initial findings that the leather seats are, in fact, very comfortable. The entire space has a clean, streamlined look, and without the pesky mess of bottles on the back of the bar you can make eyes all the way across the room. We peeked in during the weekend to find the bar similarly empty, with the sound system playing a mix of '90s alternative rock. Without a catchy draw or notable eats, it's likely Vinyl might have trouble keeping up with the expectations—and rent—of such a prime location.
DRINKS A selection of wine and reasonably priced local beers is anchored by a small list of specialty cocktails. We tried the Full Metal Jacket, an ill-fated combination of rum and whiskey, which tasted like cough syrup thanks to a heavy-handed pour of amaro. Further research showed the only comparable cocktail combining both rum and whiskey is the long-forgotten Suburban, which we assume fell into disregard for obvious reasons. The Backstage Rider, with mezcal, cherry liqueur, Falernum and lemon was more successful.
FOOD We ordered the truffle fries and the buffalo flatbread on half-price flatbread day. The pizza is exactly what you'd want when drunk at 2am, a mass of vinegary, spicy chicken and oozingly bland cheese on a paper-thin, cracker-like crust, dusted with chopped parsley. The fries never made it to the table.
SERVICE An attentive server worked double-duty as both the bartender and server during our early-evening visit, serving food and mixing drinks while also bussing tables.
THE TAB $30 for two drinks and one (half-price!) flatbread.
|Venue name:||Vinyl Chicago (CLOSED)|
121 W Hubbard St
|Transport:||El stop: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Merchandise Mart, Red to Grand.|
|Do you own this business?|