Good Housekeeping is what happens when you put a classic cocktail lounge in Highland Park. In this ever-changing neighborhood, curious imbibers can find the drinkery from Spirit Animal Group’s Nicholas Krok, Ryan Duffy and Jeremy Simpson inside a converted garage off an alleyway behind Cafe Birdie. Stop right there if you are getting even the teeniest inclination that this is a speakeasy; instead, the twinkle-lit courtyard and homey interior combo conveys a downright neighborly feel. Prepare to be welcomed with open arms regardless of whether you live within walking distance or are traveling from further afoot. Of course, there's plenty of eccentricity too, in the form of an alt-J-inspired playlist, a hip-bordering-on-quirky clientele and some real funky swills. We mean that in the best way, like a charcoal-filtered Manhattan or a Boulevardier made with strawberry-infused Campari. Would you expect anything less than three guys trained under Julian Cox? And the best part: no crowds. For real.
Good for: A wholly laid-back watering hole with superb libations to boot. The neighborhood is not going to be happy with us, because we’re letting you in on their best-kept secret. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Good Housekeeping: You could cuddle up with a loved one under the twinkling lights outside, gather your favorite cocktail-loving friends in a booth or saddle up to the marble-top bar and glean as much mixology knowledge as you can before the place shuts down for the night.
The scene: Cocktail novices and enthusiasts alike, folks on dates and seasoned locals all settle nicely into the charming living room-esque space. The vibe is chill—so chill you might be tempted to fall asleep. Dim lighting and cozy banquettes will do that to you, along with the mighty delicious yet subtly strong drinks.
Drink this: The Daiquiri No. 1 ($12). What makes this twist on a tried-and-true classic so special is the use of chartreuse, which lends a unique, herbal touch. The Farmer’s Market Fix ($12) made with seasonal fruit (plum on our visit) both muddled and chopped as a garnish, seems to please just about every palate, plus it’s totally refreshing. A blend of fresh lemon juice, evaporated cane sugar and bourbon poured over crushed ice, the Fix is a triumphant year-round refresher. Of course, most everyone in the bar was ordering the Paloma ($12)—a tall and only slightly smoky mix of lime, bell pepper, mezcal and a house-made sea salt tincture, topped with cracked black pepper. It’s undoubtedly one of the most original palomas you’ll ever have. We’d be remiss not to mention the Horse’s Neck ($12), a rye-based soda cocktail that’s both sweet and tangy and somehow tastes like fall.
Our tip: You could awkwardly venture through Cafe Birdie to get to the back patio, or we learned after the fact that you could just enter from the alley. Want to know something pretty cool? All of the vintage glassware has been sourced from thrift shops. Another great perk about the bar being where it is: Parking is never a problem. Maybe don’t drive though, just so you can really sample the full range of libations here.