The Most Romantic Bars in Chicago

    The Most Romantic Bars in Chicago

    When it comes to romantic bars in Chicago, the possibilities are endless. You’ll find high and low, and quite a few spots in between, but as they say, it shouldn’t really matter where you are as long as you have the right person by your side. Yes to that, but let’s be real: We’re going to also need some groovy music, a sexy atmosphere and cocktails beautiful enough to post on Instagram.

    That’s why you cannot possibly go wrong with The Betty, a sensational cocktail lounge in the sizzling hot West Loop neighbourhood. Its sleek vintage vibe borrows elements from generations past, from the bespoke Howard standup player piano in a dark corner at the edge of the lounge to the hand-carved bookshelves along the back wall filled with old records, books, flasks and so much more. The cocktail menu makes you feel like a grownup: You won’t find any cutesy names; only sophisticated monikers are appropriately doled out. Start the evening with the celebratory Maximillion (tequila, ancho chile liqueur, hibiscus syrup, lime, mole bitters and topped with sparkling wine) and end it on a high note with The Vanderbilt (aquavit, oloroso sherry, dry vermouth and orange-chili oil).

    What was old is brand-spanking new at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, which re-opened downtown recently to much fanfare mostly because of its six new dining and drinking offerings. One of the highlights is Cherry Circle Room, which offers a food and beverage program inspired by Chicago Athletic Association menus dating as far back as the 1890s. It’s hidden in the back of the second floor—just beyond Drawing Room, Game Room and Milk Room—so you feel like you’ve got a secret place to snuggle up in. The dark, cherry oak-accented dining room is filled with a mixture of original fixtures and new elements such as the bar, which was built from scratch in several months. Tie on an elixir that was inspired by Chicago bartender Jacques Straub in 1914: the Crescent Cocktail of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, amaro and bitters or the Cameo Kirby made with gin, dry vermouth, raspberry, lime and egg white.

    Harry’s Velvet Room owner Dion Antic made headlines all over the country last winter when he spelled out the “house rules” at his Parisian-themed lounge in Lincoln Park. No cell phone talking. No loud talking. And no men approaching women as though they’re in some Viagra Triangle singles bar. The first floor feels like a bistro you’d stumble across in the heart of Paris, where you’d dine on classic steak frites and mussels. Upstairs is looser and clubbier, with a deejay spinning rare jams and a fireplace for fashionistas to congregate. Cocktails, of course, are French inspired, and most are of the champagne variety. 

    Written by 
    Audarshia Townsend  

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