Best of the City
Market’s new retractable roof. Through the Roof!
N Market, owned by Karl
Spektor and Sox GM Kenny
Williams, has one-upped the
Cell itself with the addition of a
revolutionary retractable roof on
the outdoor beer garden. Push a
button and shelter rolls over the
2,500-square-foot space within
minutes—making this West Loop
spot the hottest place to watch a
game any time of the year. 1113
W. Randolph St., 312.929.4787.
Crowds pack Big Star in Wicker Park.
The Nightly News
the report is in on these four new
nightlife spots you can’t miss
Head to the back loading zone of 308 W. erie St. to ﬁnd the
unmarked entrance to Champagne lounge Cuvée.
douBLe a Besides the invite- BiG StaR Tacos can be ordered
only glamour (e-mail rsvp@ as early as 11:30AM when
doubleachicago.com), and hours change this month,
“We’ve had John Cusack, Pam Anderson, Jay Cutler, good luck) and private but nighttime is still the
Bubble the Kardashians,” says Ivan Madera, co-owner of River
North’s Cuvée, barely pausing for breath. “Jeremy
collection of premium
right time at Paul Kahan
and Terry Alexander’s
or Nothing Piven and the guy who plays Johnny Drama. Hopefully
we’ll get Diddy in this weekend—he’s in town.” But
underground lounge is
Wicker Park’s new “It”
the glittery Champagne-geared ultra-lounge—don’t mixology scene with soon- spot. Spirits director
call it a club!—isn’t all celebrities. You’re in if you dress to-arrive oversized snifters Michael Ruble serves classic
the best new nightspot? the part (men: suits or sport coats) and ﬁt the 60/40 in which bartenders swirl, drinks, some with his own
female/male ratio Cuvée shoots for each night. Drinks not shake, crafty cocktails. speciﬁed blend of W.L.
cuvée, where stars range from Champagne cocktails to the new extreme in 108 W. Kinzie St. Weller bourbon. 1531 N.
get uncorked bottle service: the Salmanazar (a nine-liter Champagne Damen Ave., 773.235.4039.
bottle). Te biggest tab so far? $48,000. 308 W. Erie St., SMaLL BaR Not so small
312.202.9221. anymore, the new Lincoln BaR NoVo Owners of the
Park sibling to the Logan amped-up hotel bar in the
Square and Wicker Park Renaissance Chicago plan
market photo by aleJandro marin
locations holds 140 to add a DJ on Tursday
“i’ve always loved chicago. When i was 17 or 18, my at the former St. Paul nights to rev the after-work
dad played here and we would hang out at kingston Billiards. Order mini kegs crowd—as if the buttered
of Kostritzer, Bell’s and rum with pear liqueur and
mines and those jazz clubs along that strip.” more. 1415 W. Fullerton apple isn’t enough. 1 W.
designer stellA mccArtney Ave., 773.525.2727. Wacker Dr., 312.372.7200.
66 | | January 2010
THE RADAR | NOW! | Edited by Marissa Conrad
The Purple Pig Tuesday, 5PM nutty, or genius?
We say both.
A ﬁrst in Voyeur history: We showed up to shoot at The Purple Pig one recent evening and it was too packed
to even set up our camera. So we tried again the next week an hour earlier, and voilà!—success. The secret
to this Michigan Avenue pork palace? Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr.’s inspired Mediterranean fare and the convivial
buzz that comes with communal tables, a fab wine list and chatter in the air. Show up. Wait. Dine. Repeat.
Pamela Kanner Henry John Hendricks
Darien, freelance writer River Forest, ad sales exec Hip Sips
“I’ve heard that ‘Much Loving the communal table Pour these new-to-Chicago
setup. “With seven beautiful Jimmy Bannos Jr.
smoking kills live men and spirits—the Bentleys of wines,
women at the table, you’d be Park Ridge, chef/partner,
cures dead swine.’” bubblies, liquors and liqueurs—
smiling like a Cheshire cat too!” e Purple Pig
at your next dinner party.
Can’t get over how crowded
his new restaurant is. “I need DUMANTE VERDENOCE: is pistachio liqueur
the patio to open up ASAP!” makes chocolate Martinis sexy again.
But its complex sweet-and-nutty ﬂavor
also stands strong as a simple post-dinner
sipper. $39.99 at Binny’s, dumante.com.
DOM PÉRIGNON ROSÉ OENOTHÉQUE 1990:
Marking the ﬁrst time in Dom’s
300-year history that a rosé has been
released from the ultra-controlled
Oenothèque vault, this bubbly is bold,
Megan Kanner spicy and unlike anything you’ve tasted.
Edgewater, jewelry buyer $799 at Binny’s, domperignon.com.
“Who knew there were so MAKERS 46: Can you teach an old
many edible pig parts?” bourbon maker new tricks? After
Butler University, student
50-plus years of making one product
Enjoying a going-away Steve Paluck only, Maker’s Mark releases a
dinner before a trip to Beverly, line cook, Terzo Piano 94-proof, bolder bourbon in July. $36
China and thinking to at Binny’s, makersmark.com.
herself: “I thought this Informed us that after our
is where the celebrities photographer left, Danica C. DONATIELLO: Small-batch pinot noirs and
hung out?” Patrick and her husband sat Chards from Cali’s Russian River Valley
down kitty-corner to him have us enamored with their quality
at the bar. and snazzy labeling system, marking
everything from the harvest date to
number bottled. $24-$72 at Galleria
Wine & Liquor, cdonatiello.com. –M.C.
BURNING QUESTION Hey, bouncers: What’s the craziest thing someone has done to get inside your bar/club?
“After a patron was denied entry for wearing tennis shoes,
“A girl at the door ﬂashed me to get in front of the line. After getting there, she whispered in
he noticed a couple coming out of the club, so he oﬀered the
my ear, ‘I just want you to know you’re sexy’ and grabbed my crotch.” –NICK SELESKY, HUB 51
gentleman who was leaving $500 for his dress shoes. e man
leaving took the oﬀer.” –NICHOLAS THAYER, CUVEE
“I’ve heard every story in the book, and nobody outsmarts me. Except for one time
“ ere was a guy trying to get into Underground, but he wasn’t when the roof was at capacity and nobody was getting up there. At least that’s what
VOYEUR PHOTO BY DARKROOM DEMONS
appropriately dressed or on the guest list. He waited for two I thought until some guy actually picked up a bus pan, and went around and ﬁlled it
hours, then disappeared. About three hours later, I was inside the with dirty dishes from around the restaurant. With the entire pan of dishes hoisted over
club and bumped into the same guy, but he looked completely his head, he walked past me and mumbled, ‘I need to take these upstairs to get washed.’
diﬀerent. He must’ve gone home, changed clothes and shaved his Five minutes later security radioed me from the roof asking why a non-employee was
head! Earlier in the night he had long dirty hair, and now he had a washing dishes. Guess the guy felt like he should at least ﬁnish the job. For all his
nice haircut.” –GRANT NIEWINSKI, UNDERGROUND creativity, we let him stay.” –MARK MCKINLEY, MARKET
34 | | June 2010
the radar | nightlife
What kind of guy is attracted to the nightlife business? A party boy with
a whiskey habit? A player who wants to surround himself with copious
(and perhaps inebriated) women? While the answer to both of those is
probably “hell ya” for many wannabe bar owners, they’re not the kind
who made this list. Tese industry leaders may be young (most are under
35), but they’re also some of the most successful bar owners in the city—
and they didn’t get that way by bonging beers or hanging with boozed-up
Chicago’s newest nightlife kings are barﬂies. Million-dollar ideas that just keep coming, a passion for details
young, hot, business-savvy and ready and a devotion to fun times for all (except, often, themselves) have made
to start an after-dark revolution this new guard of nightlife gurus the most exciting entrepreneurs in the
city. And—economy be damned—they’re forging ahead with plans for
| By Kate Templin | Portraits by Maia Harms | eight more Chicago hotspots, all set to open in the next year.
Four Corners Tavern Group directors Marc Epstein, Ryan Indovina
and Tim Ryll are the sports-minded brains behind Schoolyard, Gaslight,
Brownstone, Sidebar, Kirkwood and West End. After determining that a
mix of good food, beer and huge TVs, along with personalizing each bar for
certain fans—alums of Indiana University, Texas, Ohio State and more watch
games surrounded by their team’s ﬂags, ﬁght songs and even their favorite
cuvee photo by Jeff Millies
local foods—are the keys to success, the group plans to open two new bars this
champagne dreams a late night at cuvee.
summer (Benchmark at 1510 N. Wells St. and a spot at 2548 N. Southport
Ave.). “A few things don’t go out of style: great food, sports continued...
56 | | June 2010
According to Dexter, 32, their spots appeal to an
eclectic clientele. “We have luxury amenities with the
attitude and soul of a dive bar,” says Dexter, of Quality
Social in San Diego. “Our Boston project is just like Old
Town Social. And the new French-inspired restaurant
will have a bohemian social aesthetic and a French
inﬂuence in the cocktails and design.”
Te pair is hoping that low-key vibe and sophisticated
service combo will help them create a national, multi-
layered empire. “You end up cannibalizing your existing
business if you open something similar to what you’ve
done previously,” Dexter says. “We have serious long-
term plans to go into multiple neighborhoods in Chicago
and the top eight to 10 markets in the country.”
Creating a unique concept is equally key to Downtown
Entertainment, the company that owns Cuvee and
Enclave. Te Downtown team has turned up the class
level of late-night lounges with an upscale dress code, a
“We underestimated the market.
bull & bear did double our
preliminary income projections.”
well-displayed Champagne collection and chic décor at
Cuvee. Te goal? To attract the ladies, with the mindset
that where women go, men will follow. “We noticed
that women are less inclined to stay out late into the
night when the environment isn’t appealing to them,”
says Cuvee manager Nicholas Tayer, 29. “Most of the
choices we made in designing the space were geared
towards providing an enjoyable atmosphere for those
very important patrons.”
Te late-night scene is also important to 33-year-old
Mike Bisbee, founder of the LGN Group and co-owner
of Manor, RiNo, Stay and Te Cedar Hotel. Bisbee has
been in the bar industry since college, but a new economy
has inspired him to be more food-centric. “Te club
scene is way too saturated,” Bisbee says. “Te kind of
place I want to do now focuses on a whole new realm of
customers, people who aren’t buying bottles of vodka but
maybe are buying three bottles of wine with dinner.”
To that eﬀect, Bisbee brought in a new chef at Te
Cedar Hotel (formerly Melvin B’s), a summer hotspot everything myself, there are people I work with who can do most
that boasts the largest beer garden downtown. Bisbee of it better than me anyway. Tis is exactly why my partners and
will also move further into the restaurant business I are looking to Doug to help us with the new place.”
early next year when he opens the doors for his next Also adding neighborhood restaurateur to his resume
project, an upscale restaurant across the street from is Ty Fujimura, the proprietor of three locations of SmallBar
Epic on Hubbard Street. (on Division, Fullerton and in Logan Square) and Milwaukee
Nightlife entrepreneur Matt Eisler—who expanded Avenue cocktail lounge Te Exchange. “It’s really the sister
the ceDAR hotel pAtio photo couRtesy of the ceDAR hotel
his reach into the food industry with Nightwood last concept to what we do at SmallBar,” Fujimura says of Te
year—plans on opening a craft beer and sausage spot the boys Exchange. “Craft cocktails versus craft beers, small distilleries
this summer at Division and Paulina. Foodies, take note: From top: twilight versus small breweries.”
None other than Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s is consulting trafﬁc control’s But the 34-year-old’s newest project, Ukrainian Village sushi
brandon Zisman, luke
on the menu. Eisler, 34, has already seen insane success stoioff and david spot Arami, takes him out of his booze-ﬁlled comfort zone. While
with a diverse lineup that includes Elm Street Liquors, rekhson own bull & Fujimura and his brother Troy originally wanted to pay homage
Empire Liquors, Angels & Kings and Bar Deville, but bear and stone lotus. to their grandparents’ general store in Oahu with a Hawaiian
the guys from four
says there’s no secret to creating an after-dark hit. corners tavern group grill and noodle shop, the concept evolved into a 55-seat Japanese
“I ﬁnd myself having less and less time to spend at (from left to right): restaurant serving traditional “everyman” dishes (think rice bowls,
some of my places, especially as I start to get involved ryan indovina, jim noodles, sukiyaki and lots of vegetarian options) and sushi, crafted
hoban, tim ryll and
with projects outside of Chicago,” says Eisler. “I’ve marc epstein. the by former Mirai chef BK Park.
recently come to accept that, even if I had time to do cedar hotel patio. Te real kicker, says Fujimura: “We’re opening as a BYOB.”
60 | | June 2010
calendar | September 01T1
four-legged friends. Proceeds help
the Anti-Cruelty Society repair two egbok supporters party for a
Social arTS its crumbling façade. October 1. purpose at carnivale.
6:30pm to 10pm. Tickets $125 in
advance; $140 at the door; $175
VIP. At the Hard Rock Hotel, 230 N.
Michigan Ave., 312.644.8338 ext.
who is chicago? top local chefs, including Frank 319, anticruelty.org.
Raymi Productions celebrates Brunacci of Sixteen. Proceeds
10 of Chicago’s most inﬂuential beneﬁt Common 2reads’ cooking a sterling event
philanthropists with a Champagne programs for low-income children. 2is black-tie gala features a cocktail
reception in their honor. September September 23. 6:30pm. Tickets reception, dinner, and live and silent
10. 8pm-10pm. Tickets $40 in $75; $150 VIP. At Fulton’s, 315 N. auctions. Proceeds beneﬁt A Silver
advance; $50 at the door. At Cuvee, LaSalle St., 312.329.2501 ext. 209, Lining Foundation, which provides [Q&A]
308 W. Erie St., ceceandmelinda.com. commonthreads.org. mammograms for uninsured and
underinsured patients. October 2. Cambodian Idol
Morton’s celebrity servers dinner couture and cocktails 6:30pm to 11:30pm. Tickets $300.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman Carmen Marc Valvo shows his spring At the Hyatt Regency McCormick a charity that gets
and other players work as servers at collection at this runway show and Place, 2233 S. Martin Luther King chicago’s twentysomethings
this beneﬁt dinner. Proceeds beneﬁt party put on by the Women’s Board Dr., asilverliningfoundation.org. on their feet (and into their
wallets)? meet Egbok
the Charles Tillman Cornerstone of the Joﬀrey Ballet. September 24. mission (the acronym
Foundation, which helps Chicago- 7pm. Tickets $250; $500 VIP. At W Minds Matter stands for Everything’s
area families in need. September Chicago City Center, 172 W. Adams Enjoy dinner, cocktails and live gonna be ok), which trains
20. 6pm reception; 7:30pm dinner. St., 312.386.8921, joﬀrey.org. music with special guest Bonnie and empowers young adults
Tickets $250. At Morton’s at Hunt. Proceeds beneﬁt research in cambodia to become
Wacker Place, 65 E. Wacker Pl., care. cure. coMedy. chicago at the Northwestern Brain Tumor the organization—started
312.201.0464, mortons.com. Curb Your Enthusiasm star Susie Institute. October 6. 5:45pm. by chicagoan ben justus
Essman performs. Enjoy an open Tickets $300. At the Palmer House, in 2007—raised more than
big night celebrity cheFs event bar, food and a silent auction. 17 E. Monroe St., 312.503.0788, $20,000 with its august
Bill Kurtis emcees a night of eats Proceeds beneﬁt the Christopher braintumorinstitute.org. fundraiser at carnivale, a
hopping mixer of the city’s
from more than a dozen local chefs, & Dana Reeve Foundation, which young professionals. alex
including Stephanie Izard. Proceeds is dedicated to ﬁnding cures and night oF a thousand noogies Zousmer, a volunteer in
beneﬁt Chicago Animal Care and treatments for spinal cord injury. 2e Second City cast performs cambodia, tells us more.
Control. September 23. 6:30pm. September 25. 6pm to 9pm. Tickets an improv show inspired by local
Tickets $85. At the Chicago Cultural $250-$1,000. At House of Blues, 329 celebrities. Proceeds beneﬁt Gilda’s How did you become
Center, 78 E. Washington St., N. Dearborn St., 973.379.2690 ext. Club, a free support community for involved? I ﬁrst heard of
312.224.1116, fcacc.org. 7112, christopherreeve.org. anyone touched by cancer. October EGBOK Mission when I
8. 7pm. Tickets $75; $125 VIP. At attended their fundraiser
coMMon threads world cookout it’s raining cats and dogs! e Park West, 322 W. Armitage at Nacional 27 in March
Take in views of the Chicago Enjoy fare from 20 Chicago chefs Ave., 312.464.9900 ext. 34, 2009. I was immediately
River while enjoying fare from and the chance to mingle with some gildasclubchicago.org. impressed. 2is March,
EGBOK invited me to help
in Cambodia. 2ree days
later my ﬂight was booked!
the Medicine ball
What do you do in
2e Women’s Board of the Cambodia? We educate
Rehabilitation Institute of underprivileged young
Chicago celebrates its 50th adults—mainly orphans—
on the global hospitality
anniversary with this black- industry and teach them
tie gala. A seated diner, music how to create change
from DJ Michael Smith and within their communities.
a live auction follows the What’s next? EGBOK
opening cocktail reception. plans to expand its
September 11. 6:30pm. program around the world,
mEdicinE baLL photo by dan rESt
starting with returning to
Tickets $600. At the Chicago our home base, Chicago.
History Museum, 1601 N. Whether we’re working
Clark St., 312.238.6023, with students in Chicago
or Cambodia, our mission
womensboard.ric.org. guests at the 2009 Medicine ball.
is the same. –Kira Lerner
46 | | September 2010