• Claim one of 14 seats at star chef Grant Achatz’s semi-secret bar
• Sample updated classic cocktails made with rare and vintage spirits
• Graze on osetra caviar and Wagyu beef tartare
You’ve surely heard of Alinea, chef Grant Achatz’s boundary-pushing, much-acclaimed restaurant in Lincoln Park, which won a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for outstanding restaurant in America. (Alinea recently emerged from a top-to-bottom renovation, with a warmer and softer new look, and the food is as amazing as ever.) You may also have heard of the Alinea team’s Aviary bar, which took Achatz’s inventive approach to gastronomy and applied it to mixology: a typical drink might be presented in a vacuum pot or with a flaming spritzer of mace. But you might not have heard of the Office, the exclusive speakeasy bar below Aviary, with only 14 seats in a space reminiscent of a midcentury gentlemen’s club: well-worn leather armchairs, ornate carpets, tasseled lamps. In contrast to the wacky creations at Aviary, here the focus is on classic cocktails reimagined with premium ingredients and served in gorgeous vintage glassware; all drinks are priced at $20. (There’s also a short menu of high-grade bar snacks, including foie gras terrine, Uruguayan caviar, and a beef tartare.)
The Office is located underneath the Aviary bar on West Fulton Market, in the burgeoning West Loop neighborhood, a 10- to 15-minute taxi ride from the Conrad Chicago. Space is extremely limited and reservations are essential; the Conrad concierge can assist with bookings. Alinea is located in Lincoln Park, a 15- to 20-minute taxi ride north of the Conrad, and also requires reservations well in advance.
THE AVIARY / THE OFFICE: 955 W. Fulton Market; 312-226-0868; theaviary.com
ALINEA: 1723 N. Halsted St.; 312-867-0110; alinearestaurant.com